Is It Photo Fun .....

Or Is It ---

Photo Fraud !!!

Craig Sandell 2012


In a 1997 issue of a national fishing magazine, an ad for a company that will take the photo of your fish and "enhance it" so that it looks bigger than the actual catch, was presented to the angling public. Today there are software packages available so that anyone can "enhance" their fish photo. At first glance this could be great fun, however it raises some interesting questions.

Over the past few years a great deal of effort has been invested by many people to "set the record straight" regarding the Muskie catches of folks like Art Lawton and Len Hartman. Much of the investigation centered around the analysis of photos. Now that there are so many very easy to use computer programs that can alter the truth of a photograph, it will be increasing difficult to test the truth of a Muskie angler's catch and release. Having the photo negative will not resolve the problem because a negative of an altered photo can be produced quite easily from today's computer accessories.

It appears to me that we are fast approaching the time when the only way to truly assess the truth of a Muskie catch will be to view the actual fish. Obviously, that will require that the fish not be released.

I don't begrudge anyone trying to make an honest dollar. The folks that are offering this "photo fraud" service are, I assume, not advocating that fish photos be altered for some ill gotten gain. The problem facing us all is that now we can no longer trust the "photographic proof" of someone's Muskie catch.

From this time forward, when someone claims to have caught a 50 pound Musky or when we see a Muskie in an advertisement or on a video we will never know whether we are viewing the truth or just another slick advertising gimmick designed to "pick our pockets" or sell magazines.

This also raises another issue. In the coming days, there will be much said about the use of photographic analysis regarding the Muskie catches of the past. The application of digital pixels as an evaluative tool will be presented as a "fool proof" method of analysis. As anyone who wishes to see can see, digital pixels can be manipulated to make objects look larger or smaller in a digital image. Even an unintentional variance in pixel resolution can have a significant effect on the analysis results. We should all be saying "SHOW ME THE PROOF".

Tight Lines