In case you did not notice a lot of the famous photographs belong to wars, accidents and disasters. I have been writing this series about photographs for past several months and the joy of writing has seldom been there. It is hard to feel delighted if you you are writing about pain, death and misery. Therefore, to take a break from this monotony, I have decided to to cover a few fake photographs that became world famous (or viral, in the Internet lingo!). These photographs may, again, that be of wars and disasters —but at least they are not real (or not as real as they appear to be!)
Let me start with a photograph that first began to make rounds via emails in August 2001. Many of you must have seen this in an email forwarded by an over-excited friend who wanted to share the shock of this photo with you. The photo shows a man hanging on a ladder coming from a helicopter hovering on the surface of sea. AND as a great white shark is leaping out of the waters to attack the chap. Here is the photograph:
The chain email that contained this photograph also usually contained the following text:
AND YOU THINK YOUR [sic] HAVING A BAD DAY AT WORK !! Although this looks like a picture taken from a Hollywood movie, it is in fact a real photo, taken near the South African coast during a military exercise by the British Navy. It has been nominated by National Geographic as “THE photo of the year”.
Obviously, National Geographic did not give any such award to this photo. In fact there is no such award! The photograph was a cut-and-paste job and was created by combining two different images.
Lance Cheung took the photograph of the US Air Force HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter during a diver rescue training exercise in San Francisco Bay near Golden Gate bridge.
Charles Maxwell, a South African photographer, shot the photograph of the leaping great white shark in the False Bay, South Africa.
And then “someone” cleverly combined these two original photos to make this fake composite. Sharks do sometimes leap out of water (a behavior called “breaching”) to feed on seals and False Bay is an ideal place to witness this spectacle.
This photograph became viral at a time when shark attacks were in media focus —especially after mauling of eight-year-old Jessie Arbogast off Pensacola Beach in Florida.
Ok, now in summary… the above photograph is NOT real. Please be careful when you share photos and other information on social media. The ease of sharing stuff on such websites have made us a bit lazy as we tend to share anything that is sensational —without verifying facts. Do a little bit of Google search to find facts.
What do you think of this photograph and the story behind it? Please comment and give your feedback as it helps me in writing better content for my readers. Thank you for reading and stay connected with my website as I will continue to bring stories on more iconic photographs for you.