Saturday, December 13, 2008

Skilled at Photoshop?

In the age of Photoshop, so-called "photographic evidence" has all but lost its power to prove anything more than the digital dexterity of its presenter. And in the case of a borderline crank subject like the study of UFOs, it has simply made for some very cute, very silly pictures of obviously home-made, very carefully photographed models of craft pretending to be evidence of who-knows-what.

And then there are pictures like the above, which to a skeptic like myself (who also happens to have made a living for a time being really pretty good at Photoshop), presents an intriguing prospect. The photograph and its companions were allegedly taken at Green Bay Wisconsin in 2007 and can be found at

There is every possibility the photo is doctored, so let us begin with that premise. However, it would have required the skills of someone who is at once truly masterful (Hollywood level at least) at creating verisimilitude--take special note of flares of light ovetaking thin branches as the craft apparently "moves" during the exposure; truly motivated to deceive the public into belief that the sighting really took place; and truly inept or truly not interested in gaining notoriety or payment for the deployment of their considerable skills.

And yet, if we take the position that the photo must be doctored, because of course UFOs are not UFOs at all, but always a hoax, then what are we saying? We are making several assumptions about human character and skill that begin to equal or surpass in their collective unlikelihood the possibility that something inexplicable (to wit--an Unidentified Flying Object) was recorded by a photosensitive device behind some trees in Green Bay not long ago.

The rest is for us to ponder.