Video and photographic evidence is an important part of the 9/11 evidence kit. From the Naudet’s capturing of the first explosions at WTC to the collapse of WTC7 late in the day to the aftermath at ground zero, the pentagon and Shanksville, the video and photographic images of the day have been instrumental in creating much of our understanding of the events of 9/11. Many have presented various images in support of their positions, yet the authenticity of many of these images has never been established.
I would like to address two questions: 1) Which images can we trust? 2) How can we assess the authenticity of a particular image?
Considering the technologies available to anyone with a computer, prudence dictates a healthy skepticism regarding the authenticity of much of the video and photographic “evidence” presented by all parties. Whether through the insertion of objects or the masking/blurring/removal of others, the forgers have manipulated much of the available imagery. Trust must be earned. If we are to include video and photographic images in our evidence kit we must first establish, to the best of our ability, their authenticity.
The most telling clue of forgery in images is anomalies in “light and shadows”. It is extremely difficult to accurately create the appropriate lighting/shading/shadow throughout a “doctored” image. Many forgers rely on the viewer’s attention being focused only upon certain key elements and not on "less important” elements. It is often these minor elements which reveal the forgery. Additionally, the forger often creates anomalous “shadows” over large areas in an attempt to ‘resolve’ these issues. Careful examination of the lighting, shading and shadows of an image is quite useful in establishing its authenticity.