Take nothing but pictures
Leave nothing but footprints

The camera never lies – Part 2

Picking up the theme again, this is a story from a few weeks ago.

Billie Piper was plastered all over the front of the Daily Mail seemingly smoking too close to a toddler and apparently getting smoke in the kid’s face. Below is a screengrab from the Mail Online that day.

Mail Online image of Billy Piper smoking

Mail Online image of Billy Piper smoking

There was quite of lot of debate at the time about the use of this picture – mostly focussed on what an evil woman Billie Piper was for smoking in front of a child or whether the image was Photoshopped in some way.

Leaving aside the ethics of the smoking debate just looking at the picture itself does raise a few doubts about the story.

Most paparazzi use long telephoto/zoom lenses to grab these type of pictures which will introduce a degree of perspective foreshortening, i.e. reducing the apparent distance between foreground and background objects in the frame. This appears to be the case in this picture, although it is difficult to tell with the tight cropping and the wider context.

The smoke of the cigarette is clearly behind the toddler’s head and if the perspective has been foreshortened then it is entirely possible that the child was exposed to no smoke directly at all. Also the proportions of Billie’s head and that of the toddler’s look wrong. Either the toddler has a large head for its age or Billie has a small head as they look very similar in size. This again would be an effect of perspective foreshortening.

Whether the picture has been Photoshopped or not I don’t know and I’ve read contradictory evidence on this. I suspect probably not though.

I think the interpretation is a trick of perspective that tells a different story about the scene to the reality.

In the interests of transparency I should declare that I am a smoker :-)

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This entry was posted on Friday, August 6th, 2010 at 07:52 and is filed under Blog, The camera never lies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.