In a video posted to YouTube late Sunday, a Los Angeles based photographer reveals the “color correction and grading” tricks he believes 60 Minutes producers used to to make Steve Bannon look like a “bleary-eyed drunk” in the former Trump administration adviser’s first televised interview since being dropped by the administration.
Peter Duke, a photographer whose gained notoriety for his photo portraits of thought leaders on the fringe of mainstream politics, claims 60 Minutes deliberately altered saturation levels in shots of Bannon during the interview to damage his credibility with viewers.
“It seems like 60 minutes would like you to listen less and look more at Steve Bannon. By subtly tweaking the color of the video, they make him look like a bleary-eyed drunk. I show you how they did it,” Duke wrote in the description of his YouTube video.
In the video, Duke notes that the color of curtains behind Bannon in the interview, which are a deeper shade of orange than the same curtains appearing ion shots behind Rose.
“Now I’ve met Steve Bannon and I know what he looks like. He’s Irish and he does kinda have paper skin. But, he doesn’t have pronounced red circles around his eyes. That’s not who he is in real life. So I started comparing the two shots of Charlie Rose and Steve Bannon to see what kind of differences I could find, and it was very interesting,” Duke tells viewers. “The first thing that you need to take a look at is the coloring saturation. Those drapes in the Breitbart Embassy are actually the same color. Now the light lighting them might be slightly closer or farther away, which accounts for the brightness, but they are the same color. And you can see from these two shots that they are defiantly not the same color.”
Moving along, Duke claims that whoever edited the 60 Minutes footage lightened the contrast in shots featuring Rose by adding blue tinting which “makes his make-up look less clownish and it also knocks down the contrast a little bit.” Making the same adjustments to shots of Bannon, Duke notes how his seemingly bloodshot eyes suddenly look normal.
He also demonstrates the deceptive editing he believes occurred in reverse order.
“Now I’m going to do to Charlie what they did to Steve. I’m going to kick up the situation, the red, the orange, and i’m going to increase the contrast. So here are the two shots before and after, before and after. And here’s what the pictures would look like if they were graded similarly. Steve doesn’t have red circles under his eyes, Charlie’s make-up is subtle, can’t really tell he’s got it on, unless you’re looking. And Steve doesn’t look like the monster they want you to think that he is,” he says.
The difference in the shots are quite pronounced.
Conservative commentator Ann Coulter applauded the video via Twitter, noting she believes this is a tactic frequently used by networks hoping to undermine the points of certain guests.
GREAT VIDEO. Networks do this a lot. That’s why conservatives seem to look so much better on Fox News. https://t.co/jWmP5YcYxQ
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) September 11, 2017
But don’t expect an admission of guilt from mainstream media anytime soon.
In a New York Times Magazine piece over the summer, Duke’s efforts to photograph conservative figures in a way that removes the cartoon villain characteristic they’re usually subjected to in mainstream leftist publications earned him the title “Annie Leibovitz of the Alt-Right.”
Even as Duke showed writer Mathew Kassel first hand example of how editing tricks can be used to subtly portray photo subjects in a negative light, his assertions were met with skepticism.
From the piece:
Before we met, Duke and I had been corresponding for a month or so about media coverage of right-wing figures, and every so often, when I came across a photo, I would send it his way to get his read on it. At one point, I asked him in an email for his take on Time magazine’s cover portrait of Steve Bannon — craggy skin, red nose, lazy eye — published in early February. He responded by sending back a five-year-old head shot of me, publicly available online, which he’d edited on Photoshop to make my face look ghoulish and depleted. His point, at least as I understood it, was that it’s easy to make someone look bad. It seemed like an obvious thing to say, but it was still disturbing to be on the receiving end of it.
To check out Duke’s work, visit PeterDukePhoto.com.