I woke up today with an image that a couple of people shared to their social media. It was the image of nightmares, an aggressive bear entering a tent and growling at it’s next victim. Here is the image.
Michio Hoshino, a photographer known for his pictures of bears and other wildlife, was mauled to death by a brown bear on the Kamchatka Peninsula in eastern Russia. He was in his mid-40’s and lived in Fairbanks, Alaska. This is the last photo he took.
This isn’t the last photo he took.
Michio Hoshino was indeed a photographer. He was also killed by a bear. But this doesn’t mean any photo with a bear and the attached text is all it seems. Just a 30 second Google tells us that this isn’t a genuine photo, but a photoshop used in a competition.
Over at Snopes, they provided a little insight to the origin after the image went viral.
It’s an entry from a Worth1000 Photoshop competition in which contestants were tasked with creating “a last-photo hoax: the final photograph of the victim, whoever he might be, had a camera on him right before ‘it’ happens.
This blog as far back as 2009 also analyses the image. With the title ‘About Alleged Michio Hoshino’s Last Image of a Bear’, the author studies the image in more depth, with an update that ‘the photo was photoshopped by user BonnySaintAndrew as a an entry for a Final Photo 9 contest’. It also looks into the lighting in the photo considering the attack occurred around 4am.
Of course I could spend all day fact checking the fact checkers, but this would take me all the way back to the deadly event in 1996. But as always, if it seems to incredible to be true, it probably is.
This doesn’t mean there aren’t incredible photos out there. There have been so many that I have seen and thought ‘that has to be fake, come on!’ before looking it up and finding out it is indeed a genuine. There are photos even crazier than this one. The first one that springs to mind is camera footage of a Bigfin Squid found by a deep-sea camera operated by a drilling company in the Gulf of Mexico.
Now I am not sure if this specific photo is genuine, however finding the video footage of the encounter shows that this is exactly what it looks like. I believe this image was a zoom out of that camera, and even if this is a fake, it is still nowhere near as eerie as the actual video footage when it was unexpectedly seen.
I don’t want to be a bore and call out all amazing yet fake photos, I just think it would be much better if we filter out the fakes and enjoy the genuine crazy occurances that are captured by our amazing little pocket devices.
I know as the day goes on, that bear photo will continue to be shared. There will be hundreds more comments of ‘hey, that’s incredible!’, ‘scary shit!’ and so on. Yet it takes less than a minute to find the genuine source and the specific photoshopper. Is it any wonder we live in a world of lies and deceit when they can spread like wildfire online? Why spend time researching the facts when it takes less time to simply believe. This is why we have so many conspiracies, and religions determined by geographical location more than evidence. This is why I find it so fun to do a little research, the most interesting caves are the ones that are waiting to be discovered!