A Brief History Of North Korean Photoshops

Almost as much as North Korea loves missiles and marching, the rogue nation apparently loves photo-manipulation software. But, hey, who doesn’t?

Maybe North Korea uses Photoshop. Maybe the country even paid for its copy! Or maybe the military has its own magical software to use with a super computer. It’s probably a state secret.

This week, Alan Taylor at The Atlantic (via Gizmodo) revealed that North Korea might have used photo manipulation to recently show battle ready hovercrafts.

North Korean state media released the image in question, but as Taylor explained: “Two hovercraft crashing through the surf, nearest to the photographer, appear to be just a single hovercraft, with a digital twin copied and pasted nearby. Two of the more distant craft appear to be digital twins as well. A third vehicle in the scene has some of the hallmarks of digital pasting, including colour mismatch, a slight halo, and soft edges.” (Note: The Atlantic added the coloured shapes, of course, in the above image.)

But this is hardly a first. North Korea, it seems, has a long, proud history of Photoshop.

Under the reign of Kim Jong-un’s father, Kim Jong-il, the country was famous for its photo doctoring… skills. This is propaganda, you say! What do you expect? Well, I expect better ‘shops!

Here is a look back at some of the high points (low points?) of possible North Korean Photoshops over the years, whether that’s adding food, livestock, or a then sickly Kim Jong-il to photos.

While these certainly look suspect, the top image is completely real. It’s not a Photoshop, and Jesus Diaz at sister site Gizmodo did not do it. It’s real, just like the unicorn lair North Korea discovered.

Now, if only North Korea could get into GIFs…

In case you missed it, here’s a very helpful North Korean Photoshop tutorial.

Is This North Korean Hovercraft-Landing Photo Faked? [The Atlantic]
Tea Cup [init.]
Power Struggle [National Post]
AP withdraws North Korean flooding photo, saying it was altered [Washington Post]
North Koreans send Photoshop army into battle [The Age]
North Korean news agency ‘doctors photo of Kim Jong-il’s funeral procession’ [The Telegraph]
晒晒朝鲜弄虚做假的新闻报道图片 [铁血社区]

Picture: Not a Photoshop by Jesus Diaz

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