Think of the most popular photo floating around the internet of the lone Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock. Oddly, Paddock is a type of digital ghost, and few images of him can be found on the internet, with the most popular image uploaded by his girlfriend in September 2014. This image, depicting Paddock with his eyes closed holding a shot glass, is one of the rare few in existence; however, many have been quick to point out that it may not be entirely authentic.
In this image, which has been uploaded to prominent news outlets such as CNN and Heavy, has been under scrutiny recently due to what appears to be a tampered image. This is claimed because of Paddock’s girlfriend’s forearm and elbow, which is weirdly outlined, and if one looks at the point of her elbow, it is clear that the image is not 100% organic. Here is a close-up of the image posted by CNN, focusing on the elbow:
It appears that someone had taken a pen tool to crop out Paddock’s girlfriend’s elbow and either misaligned his model or got a little lazy. The legitimacy of the above image is now being questioned by some independent investigators, who are painfully coping with the fact that Stephen Paddock barely exists on the internet, and that information regarding his life or digital presence has been distributed very scarcely.
Another aspect of the picture that some have pointed out is that the orange wristbands also seem as if they have been cut and pasted onto Paddock’s wrist. See a zoomed-in image below:
Photoshoppers and digital artists, what do you think? Do the above images look like something that a content editor could pull off, or is all of this speculation surrounding the above images reaching a bit?
Details regarding the shooting have been scarce, to say the least, so many internet users have been scouring the small bits of information released, piecing together more reliable explanations behind Paddock’s identity and motive. The details of what really happened may never be revealed by authorities, but we can certainly try our best to understand what and what not to accept as factual.
Commentary by Jon Masters,