Identifying Fake Photos

Meet Larry.


He is being used for science, and he keeps watch over my desk when I am away from my office.  Although, he may appear to be advertising a sporty hat, he is actually a part of my first research project as a graduate student.  For the past few months, I have been developing a method to mathematically prove that images such as these are fake:

Although it’s easy to see that these images are fake, proving that they are forged beyond any doubt is a much more difficult task.  Obviously, the first step to designing a method to prove whether or not an image is fake is to purchase a good-looking mannequin head (and while I was at it, I also purchased a set of legos all in the name of science).  The fake head is useful because the facial features never change in any picture of the head, which simplifies the task of proving that an image such as the following is a fake. Besides the scientific uses of a mannequin head, it is also fun to place Larry in public areas of the office so that he can creepily watch people as they walk by.
The main idea behind deciding if an image is fake is to show that different parts of the image could not possibly have been photographed by the same camera in the same image.  Using the above image of the mannequin heads as an example, if you look at the lighting on the hat of both heads, you will notice that they are illuminated differently.  This inconsistency can be used to reach the conclusion that one of the heads was copied from another photo and added to this one; thus, implying that the photo was not captured by a single camera.
I don’t want to go into the specific details my research because it’s still a work in progress, and what I have so far might not even be correct.  Instead, here are some pictures of me working very hard.
The six computer screens are absolutely necessary, especially the two screens dedicated to streaming cartoons.
This is a picture of me being a little bit more productive.
I’m still looking for good examples of fake pictures.  If you know of any, please feel free to send me a copy.  If it’s good enough and I can use it, the photo might even end up in a scientific publication.



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