Fake photographers, creating fake news.

Fake Photographers and faking it until you make it.

The old saying “Fake it until you make it” taken to a new level this week. Fake photographers, we have had lots of practitioner’s of the art. This character has risen to new heights.

Close by, we had one of “Australia’s most awarded wedding photographers“. Although in this case, the artist may not have been the sharpest pencil in the case. They had a link to their social media account. Visiting that account, you found a post proclaiming. “So stoked to be photographing my very first wedding this Saturday”.

Internationally there have been dozens if not thousands of cases uncovered. The latest doing the rounds involves a person. Who apparently nicked all his profile pictures from an English surfer/photographer. Photoshopping the stolen profile pictures into other allegedly stolen news images, as you do. Then borrowed pictures from a whole bunch of real photographers and built himself a career as a conflict zone photographer. Supplying some leading photo agencies and publications with his photos. (I say his, but in reality that is only based on his/her fake profile name and pictures)

Our FAKE PHOTOGRAPHER was interviewed via social media about his heroic exploits. Profile pieces were published both online and in traditional media. All adding to his fame as a conflict zone photographer, living a life almost too good to be true. As it turns out his story was in fact, too good to be true.
The person behind this manufactured profile, manage to pull the wool over many peoples eyes over a period of around 2 years. Before small chinks began to be noticed.

Last week our fake photographer’s story started to leak like a sieve. His elaborate charade came crashing down. We may never know how many photographers had work stolen, flipped horizontally, retouched and resold. It is also unlikely that we will ever know how much if any money was paid to our fake photographer.
What is likely though, genuine news and photo agencies will be on the lookout not only for FAKE NEWS but also FAKE NEWS SOURCES.

We also know that his Instagram account with 125,000 followers has disappeared along with any apparent trace of our photographer.

The BBC has published a short story about this incident, based on BBC Brazil’s account.