How EXIF Data Made People Believe Trump Was Doing a Photo Op
On Saturday, the White House released images of Trump working during the coronavirus. There was one image where he was in the conference room at the Walter Reed hospital and another image where he was in the presidential suite at the same hospital. Because of this, people were storming Twitter accusing Trump of staging for Photo OPs instead of actually working due to EXIF data taken from the images.
Editor-in-Chief of The Air Current, Jon Ostrower, went on Twitter Saturday night, October 3, 2020, to express his belief that Trump was staging a photo OP using EXIF data. This data showed that both images were taken within 10-minutes apart. Other Twitter users also accused him of signing his name on a blank piece of paper with a Sharpie marker, and it was merely a staged photoshoot, not him actually working.
The photos released by the WH tonight of the president working at Walter Reed were taken 10 minutes apart at 5:25:59 pm and 5:35:40 pm ET Saturday, according to the EXIF data embedded in both @AP wire postings that were shared by the White House this evening. pic.twitter.com/EzeqIkGdf7
Many people on Twitter were commenting that Trump should be resting since he had the coronavirus instead of working at his desk or taking Photo OPs. Other people, like his daughter Ivanka Trump, complimented him for working hard for America while having a major illness.
So was Trump in a staged photo OP or was he really working for the American people? How would EXIF data determine what Trump is really doing while behind the doors of Walter Reed Medical Center? Here is some information on EXIF data that you can use to determine if Trump was really working at the hospital, or if he was staging the whole thing.
What is EXIF Data?
EXIF stands for Exchangeable Image File Format. When images get posted on the Internet, they often show the information of each image posted. The information might include the brand of the camera being used, the exposure setting the camera was set on when taking the picture, the date the picture was taken, and where the photo was taken. EXIF data also helps to organize the photos on your phone or computer by recording when a photo was taken based on your phone’s time.
Some of the exposure settings that EXIF data records are ISO speed, shutter speed, aperture, white balance, etc. This data could be useful when figuring out how to get a particular shot when taking a photo, figuring out when a photo was taken, or where the photo was taken so that a certain location could be used for a different photo.
The History of EXIF Data
Back when digital cameras didn’t exist, photographers had to rely on using a pen and paper to describe the certain shot they were taking, when they took it, and what location they used. They would then look back at this data to figure out how to replicate a certain shot again that they have taken in the past. For new photographers, this became a pain to learn since they did what the paper told them to do, but in most cases still couldn’t get the photoshoot just right.
That’s why when they made the digital camera we all know and love today in the 1990s, Japan Electronic Industries Development (known as Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association today) invented the EXIF data. This company invented this type of information so we would know how to replicate a certain picture. Along with replicating photos, this data could also make searching for a particular image and organizing images easier.
Can We See the EXIF Data Once a Photo is Posted on the Internet?
If a photographer posts their pictures as a JPEG, then you’ll be able to see the EXIF data unless they choose to remove it. However, if a photo was posted as a GIF or a PNG then you won’t be able to obtain the EXIF data from an Internet photo. In order to view the EXIF data from an image, you can download an EXIF viewer program to your Chrome or Firefox browsers then right-clicking on the image. This will then give you all the information that was recorded with that image. If you don’t have Chrome or Firefox, you can still view the EXIF data using photo-viewing programs or by using Lightroom.
Why Would You Want to Remove EXIF Data From a Photo Before Posting it on the Internet?
If you don’t want people to see your location or personal information.
If you’re trying to upload an image over a low-quality network.
If you don’t want people to mimic your work by copying your style of photography.
If you want people to only see certain bits of information.
Can You Alter EXIF Data?
Yes, you can absolutely alter EXIF data! This could happen by altering your digital camera’s settings so that the timestamp could be changed to the time you put in your digital camera. In addition, you can also alter the EXIF data once the photo has been taken and uploaded onto your computer. This could be done through Lightroom or another image viewing and editing software.
Was Trump Really Working or Staging a Photoshoot?
It really is hard to tell since EXIF data can be altered. While it is possible that he could be working while in the hospital, it could also be possible that he was doing a photoshoot. Since the time could be altered on the EXIF data for the photos, it is not guaranteed that the images were taken 10 minutes apart. Even if they were taken 10 minutes apart, he could still move rooms while either working or doing a photoshoot. Because of this, the EXIF data can not be use as a 100% reliable source to gauge exactly what Trump was doing while in the hospital.
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