Chinese officials hover in float-o-shop pics

JULIE POWER
Last updated 12:59 23/05/2012
Floating Chinese officials
Yuhang Government website

PHOTOSHOP FAIL: government officials 'inspecting' a park

Floating Chinese officials
Huili County Government
HIGH TIMES: Huili local officials float above a highway project in China's Sichuan province under the guise of 'inspecting' last year

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And the award for the worst Photoshop ever?

For the second year in a row, the unofficial award goes to China after news that it was once again guilty of badly photoshopping an official photo.

The story went viral after Time magazine published a photo and story showing Chinese officials seeming to walk on air.

The US magazine reported that while the "old cut-and-paste technique works well in kindergarten classrooms and papier mache projects," officials from the Zhejiang Hangzhou Yuhang government discovered it doesn't transfer so smoothly to Photoshop.

The Photoshop occurred on an official Chinese government website announcing the otherwise unexciting completion of a landscaping project. It was accompanied by a re-edited photo of government officials 'inspecting' the park.'

"The sheer awfulness of the work — one man's legs appear to blend into the shrubbery; another floats in midair several inches above a brick pathway; none of the group appear to be casting shadows  met a mixture of indignation and amusement among Chinese netizens," said Time.

"It would fail photoshop 101," said Merilyn Fairskye, an associate professor of photomedia at Sydney College of the Arts.

She said the photo was hilarious. The mistakes were so obvious, they were surreal.

Professor Fairskye said altering official photos followed in the tradition of Stalin, who was famous for having officials removed from the same photo, as they fell out of favour. She says the trend to altering photos was taking off as more people, like her, added themselves to family photos. "I'll photoshop myself back into the photo if I've been the one taking all the photos," she said.

What was interesting was "how well it was done badly," said Professor Fairskye. It would be easy to fix the mistakes, she said, by shrinking the floating figures, adjusting the size of the figures and adding some shadows and different lighting.

On Twitter this morning, witticisms were flying as fast as the ninjas in the Chinese film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon:

"Worst Photoshop fail ever?" asked @Starbuckhelo.

"Air walking goes viral?" said @HadleyHCreek.

" #China "floating" inspectors on state-run media," said @markveldhuis.

"Sweet Ninja skills! SSCHWAAAAAA!" said @avantnerd.

It is the second time that badly done Photoshopping by Chinese officials has been exposed.

Last year, a similar incident triggered an internet meme, with people across the world Photoshopping three Chinese officials so they appeared to travel through time and space.

-Sydney Morning Herald

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