One of the main global concerns at the moment is the rising tension and increasing rhetoric coming from North Korea. Fortunately it has been restricted to a war of words, but could image manipulation also be one of the ‘weapons’ in the reclusive state’s arsenal? On Wednesday 27th March, the Guardian reported that an image showing the might of North Korea may have been manipulated to deceive others about how powerful the navy was. The photograph shows a number of hovercraft coming ashore in a mock invasion, however some of the hovercraft appear to be identical and one is missing part of it’s front. I had seen this image earlier in the week and like most people took it at face value, thinking North Korea have a lot of hovercrafts!
Image manipulation can be an extremely powerful method of propaganda and intimidation. However, it has to be done well otherwise it can have the opposite effect, since it would now appear that North Korea felt the need to over compensate for something that they may be lacking.
Meanwhile it is worth questioning who was it that cloned the hovercraft. Was it someone affiliated to North Korea? Or could the photograph have been intentionally made to look as if it had been badly Photoshopped to support the interests of those who North Korea perceives to be it’s enemies.
When looking at an image it is not just important to try to know if it is a truthful, realistic interpretation of what the photographer saw, but also to consider the process the photograph went through before publication.