For the last four days, one of the photographs in this graphic has been on BP's official website with the caption "HIVE at Houston Command Center July 16, 2010." The only problem? The other photo actually shows the Command Center.

BP is very concerned with this whole situation where the Gulf of Mexico got in the way of their oil, and to demonstrate how concerned they are, they've set up a nice little photo gallery on their official website called "Response in pictures." Here is one of the pictures of the Houston Command Center. It was on the site until this evening (click to enlarge):

What a terrific picture of three dedicated BP employees/bros, checking out the oil spill and looking out for our safety! Only, as AMERICABlog's John Aravosis discovered when he took a close look earlier today, it's photoshopped. And not particularly well, either—zoom in on the head of the center figure and you can see the crappy masking job the photoshopper (Tony Hayward?) did.

After the story was picked up by The Washington Post, BP posted the "original" (but only a low-resolution version, which means—if you're in a suspicious mood—you can't look at it up close) (click to enlarge):


Huh. So, that looks a little different. But maybe the weirdest part is: Does that really look so much different that the Photoshopping was necessary? Were they so afraid of the withering comments of bloggers noticing three blank screens that they thought they should paste in three duplicate images?

(Also weird: Aravosis points out that the metadata on the command center photograph has a timestamp of March 6, 2001—which could either mean that the camera wasn't set properly, or that BP is trying to fob off a picture from 2001 as one from last weekend.)

BP, which has a great track record of owning up to its mistakes, is laying the blame on the photographer, who it says "inserted the three images in spots where the video screens were blank." Totally. It was the photographer who photoshopped the images! Pretty sure the photographer caused the oil spill, now that I think about it.


Update: BP Photoshops Another Official Image Terribly

Photographer Nick Zantop notes more badly-done picture alteration on BP's website (note that it's not photoshopping, per se, just poorly-executed levels adjustment).