We saw reports come out a week ago about George Perry’s world record largemouth bass “new old photo.” We refrained from posting as news because, well I for one was pretty skeptical. I’ve shot and edited hundreds of thousands of digital photos over the last two decades. While I’m not a digital forensic scientist, I’m somewhat certain I can recognize a lot of “out of place elements” in a digital photograph.
The alleged photo above was anonymously emailed to Bill Baab at the Augusta Chronicle a couple weeks ago. Baab is the foremost authority on the Perry bass and wrote the book “Remembering George W. Perry.” The sender identified themselves as a descendant of Jack Page, Perry’s fishing buddy and the gentleman believed to be holding the only other picture of the world record bass that surfaced back in 2006.
However when Baab attempted to document and get more information on the photo from the sender, the email came back as invalid. Baab is certain the man in the latest photo is Perry. However it’s not known if this is a picture of the actual world record bass. The scribbled date on it would put it at the right time.
Here are 5 reasons why I think this photo or at least the fish in the photo has been doctored in a photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop.
Bass mouth awkward
Why would the bass’s mouth be open? That’s my first question. The way a bass’s mouth is hinged, it’s more natural and relaxed state is mouth semi closed. Wide open requires a lot of effort. Can you think of one bass photo you’ve see where the bass’s mouth was open other than forced open by a hand holding it or a lure and line pulling it open?
There is a remarkable amount of detail of the bass, yet even though other parts of the photo are in focus, they don’t show similar amounts of detail. Partially I’m sure due to age and the ability of film and focus cameras in 1932. But why does the bass have so much more detail in the same plane of focus.
Plane of focus inconsistent
The plane of focus is dependent on the aperture of the photo. This photo has a fairly narrow depth of field, meaning only things along a certain plane are in focus. There also appears to have been some camera and hand shake in the photo. Notice the top part is in focus around Perry but blurred behind him. But his legs and ground and water are somewhat out of focus because of motion blur. However none of that appears to carry through the photo.
There appears to be some sloppy attempts to blur some of the fish but not all of it. Along the fish’s back and tail there appears to be some cloning and healing applied to it. Yet the out of focus doesn’t quite seem to match other out of focus elements in the photo.
Tails don’t fit
If the tails don’t fit, you must acquit. Or something like that. But seriously the first thing I look at when looking at fish photos is the tail of the bass. The tail can remarkably be an indentifying characteristic of some bass. If I look at the tail of the bass in the original photo and look at the tail of the bass in this photo. They don’t appear to match. The original tail seemed to have a much deeper fork in the center of it.
A few other things I noticed were, and maybe it’s due to some sort of water spot, but where is the pectoral fin on the bass? Why is the fish’s bottom lip black in the photo yet there is no black on the bottom lip of the original photo? Did it disappear in transport? I somewhat doubt it. I’ve filleted bass that have those black hormone marks on them around the spawn and they are still visible at death.
All that considered, I can’t believe this photo to be real. Here are a few other folks that seem at least as skeptical as me about the legitimacy of this bass photo.
Other articles regarding George Perry’s recent record bass photo:
Editors Note: Jason Sealock has been a photographer for two decades and has edited hundreds of thousands of digital photos shot by himself and many different photographers. These opinions are his and may not reflect all of the writers of Wired2fish.com.