Friday 23 September 2022

Photo of 'conjoined cats' wins prize but is it photoshopped?

This is a photograph taken in Japan by Kenichi Morinaga of one white cat and one ginger tabby cat who appear to be "conjoined". They are sitting on a fence. The photograph won first prize in the 2022 Comedy Pet Photo Awards.

'Conjoined cat' won a photo prize but is it photo-edited?
'Conjoined cat' won a photo prize but is it photo-edited? Photo: Kenichi Morinaga.

My immediate reaction when I saw it was to ask if the photograph has been created with photo-editing because it very much looks like it. I just don't think that you can get this appearance by two cats being in close contact with their heads facing away from the camera. Anatomically it is impossible to achieve this, I would say. But it beat the judges! Perhaps they accept photo-edited images?

The news media say that the "cats are pressing their necks together to give the appearance of being conjoined". It just doesn't look right to me. And I know how to photo-edit photographs and it would not be that difficult to photo edit this image as follows.

How he did it using photo-editing

One of these cats was sitting on the fence and the photographer acquired another cat from the Internet that was in a configuration ideal to place it on the fence when the background was removed. The photographer then removed the heads of the cats and placed the two cats together. He made sure that the connecting point was roughed up a little bit so that it looks more natural.

How he'll spend the money

The prize was £2,000 plus a £5,000 donation to an animal charity of his choice.

Morinaga said that he likes to spend time travelling around Japan's islands to photograph street cats.

The photographer has a fascination for the antics of cats. He said: "When I returned to Japan, I continued to seek them out, they really cheer me up, especially after the last two years of the pandemic. They are so funny, even when they are doing something serious."

He is going to use the prize money to fund more photo trips around Japan. He said: "I would like to continue photographing many cats and bring many more smiles to people's faces. Through funny photos I hope that the world will one day become a kinder one, where cats, dogs and other animals are not abandoned or mistreated."

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