Stormchaser Posts Viral “Real” Tornado Pic That’s Apparently a Composite Image


One thing that gets people going in this community is the debate over modifying images.

But most people tend to agree that composites are not the same as a photograph of a real thing.

So why do people still try to pass off composite photographs as something authentic? Perhaps it is because there is no better way to make a splash than with an absolutely stunning pic.

Sure, you might risk your credibility, but maybe that’s a tradeoff some people want to make.

Photographer Aaron Groen is drawing a lot of heat from the storm chaser community for posting a composite picture as a real image of an extreme weather event.

In a comment about the pic, he wrote, “This was the best tornado I’ve seen out of the 6 or 7 I’ve seen now. It did a little damage but no people were hurt…Up til this one I was fumbling around and almost like forgot how to be a photographer lol I can’t think of much else that is any scarier. And wow the lightning on these more severe storms is just craziness, constant and close.”

As of press, the picture is still up and garnering praise from Internet commenters that note the photographer’s “bravery” in facing a fake storm. It’s also not the first appearance of this “storm” in Groen’s work. You see where this is going. PetaPixel also reports that there is not one comment about the image being faked and it seems like comments, negative and questioning, are being deleted and the person who posts it is being banned from Groen’s Facebook page.

One expert photographer told PetaPixel: “This photo is going viral in the storm chasing community for being a fake photo. He has used the same photo of this storm for multiple composites before and brushed in this tornado. The catch is not that it’s a composite it’s that he defends it’s real and tells people that there was even damage. A storm or tornado did not happen at this location at that time. Composites are one thing but false reporting extreme weather is a whole different thing entirely.”

This is nothing new in the community though. We've covered similar stories in the past

What do you think of photographers that modify or otherwise create “fake” photographs? What about when someone tries to push it off as a legitimate thing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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About Author

Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

Photographers that manipulate photos are starving for attention. First that they actually took a photo of something extraordinary, cool or unique. Two, they are no pleased with the photos they actually take. Maybe they are stuck in nowhere USA, I don’t know, but wanting to be noticed is the first level, and the extreme is as you say false reporting and activity or occurrence that never happened. They need a mentor, or a judge…hopefully one will stop the madness.

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