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Typhoon Nesat Photoshop is an exploitable photoshop meme that involves placing images of three Filipino government engineers in a variety of off-tone circumstances and sceneries. The fad began with the upload of a doctored photograph showing three government officials seemingly inspecting the clean-up site of Typhoon Nesat, which struck the coast of Philippines in late September 2011. Following its upload via government-affiliated Facebook page, a civil engineer noticed the oddities in the image’s composition and it was quickly revealed that the image had been doctored before publication.
On September 27th, Typhoon Nesat hit the coast of island nation Philippines, killing over 31 people and causing hundreds of million dollars in damages. On the following day, a photograph depicting three government officials wearing hard hats in what appears to be a disaster clean-up site was uploaded onto Department of Public Works and Highways’ (DPWH) official Facebook page.
The image apparently shows DPWH undersecretary Romeo Momo discussing the typhoon’s damage with DPWH National Capital Region Director Reynaldo Tagudando and DPWH South Manila District Engineer Mikunug Macud along Roxas Boulevard in Manila Bay.
The “floating” appearance of the officials was first discovered by a civil engineer and a Filipino blogger, who asserted in a blog post that the image had been photoshopped. A careful look at the photo shows that the officials seem to be floating in mid-air, and that their images were likely dragged into the scene using Photoshop’s lasso tool.
The news quickly spread through the nation’s blog network and news sites, which led to a flurry of critical comments on DPWH’s Facebook page for their clumsy attempt at manipulating the public image of the government. The story was also picked up by several Western news publications and websites like Washington Post, Inquirer and The Telegraph, while the photoshopped images have been featured on Digg and other social media aggregators.
Other bloggers like FanboySEO also jumped in on the photoshop challenges, superimposing exploitable images of the three officials into a colorful range of sceneries for satire, including a mash-up with yet another doctored image of three floating Chinese government officials, which became the subject of photoshop parodies on the Chinese web in June 2011.
Following the takedown of the image, a Facebook user launched a page titled “DPWHere” to host the exploitable image as well as a compilation of photoshopped parodies contributed by other Facebook users in the Philippines.
The controversy eventually led the DPWH to take down the photograph and issue a public apology via Facebook to the officials depicted in the photograph, explaining the photo was for internal use and never intended for public views. Officials in the department also stated that the officials had actually visited the site and inspected the damage, despite the erroneous posting of the photoshopped image.
On October 3rd, President Benigno Aquino’s spokesman announced that the “overeager employee” who had taken it upon himself to post the image had been suspended.
Washington Post – Philippines officials Photoshop themselves into typhoon cleanup photo
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