The phrase that "photographs never lie" is often heard to say that visual proof is infallible. That is, until you change them.

The art of photograph fraud began, as far as I know, in the Stalinist regime in the 1950's. State photographs would contain Stalin and his leading officials. As each of them were purged and sent to the gulag, the KGB (or some other secret government agency) would edit them to act as if the disgraced communist official was never there. It was used to disguise the brutality of Stalin's rule.

As computers came into being, the whole task took a new meaning. Before, they were cut and paste jobs. Now, they can be digitally edited. It is actually a very easy thing to do.

Just like 1984.

The key to editing photos is the clone tool. But just cloning stuff over the unperson's face is not sufficient. You must hand edit the pixels so that it is not obvious that it is cloned. Another good strategy is to clone, and then change the cloned areas to have about 5% transparency (95% opacity), and throw a rough texture underneath. Above all, follow the principle that if you can see any of the original lines, they can too. If you're stuck for ideas of what to replace the unperson with, try flipping the picture left-to-right. It will give you a whole new perspective on the scene. Don't forget to flip it back - there's nothing worse than a mole on the wrong cheek.

Actually, it's not always evil to edit photos. For example, some of the photos I took of Renn Fayre 2000 had, say, people's heads in the way of stuff. Removing the heads is time-consuming, but leads to much better pictures, artistically. Just don't lie about it. That would be lame.

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