That ‘Debunking’ of a Paris Protest Fire Photo is Fake

That ‘Debunking’ of a Paris Protest Fire Photo is Fake

One of the most viral photos of the past few days has been a side-by-side comparison of two photos that purports to show how photographers covering the Paris protests are misrepresenting the truth.

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Social media posts of the comparison have been shared tens of thousands of times, and even certain media sites have used the images as proof that photographers are using dishonest perspective and framing to turn tiny insignificant fires into giant blazes that seem to show Paris burning.

The international news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) looked into the allegations and concluded that the side-by-side debunking is fake.

“Perspective matters, and so do dates and places… because these two photos were taken on two different days in two different places, in Paris,” AFP writes. “Criticism of media coverage is legitimate, but this isn’t the best example of it.

“These photos were taken on 2 different days in 2 separate places… and AFP did not find a single photo combining a scooter on fire and the Arc de Triomphe in the background.”

And although AFP is being accused of this deception, neither of the photos were shot by AFP photographers or handled by AFP editors.

It turns out the photo of the large fire was captured on December 1st by photographer Katerine Pierre for Hans Lucas.

A screenshot of the Hans Lucas agency website showing the photo by Katerine Pierre.

AFP discovered that the second photo of a burning scooter was shot on December 8th by a staff photographer of the French magazine LePoint, which then Tweeted it:

What’s more, AFP also found that the two photos weren’t even shot on the same side of the Arc de Triomphe.

The juxtaposition of two photos from two different weekends is a clever move: by positioning oneself on the spot where the burning scooter was photographed, on Friedland avenue in Paris, the perspective of the Arc de Triomphe is the same https://www.google.com/maps/@48.8746704,2.3032339,3a,15y,258.39h,93.74t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1soclmf5LRn1PEA5hEoNWKUQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192 
6/8

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The two photos aren’t of the same place. The Hans Lucas photo was taken exactly on the other side of the Arc de Triomphe, on Foch Avenue. This is verifiable by looking at:
1) this lamp post
2) this stoplight
3) this fence and the beginning of Traktir Street on the right
7/8

And that’s how the AFP discovered that the viral photos showing “fake news” is itself actually fake news.

(via AFP via Gizmodo)

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