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Helicopter Shark

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Title: Helicopter Shark  
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Subject: Photo manipulation
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Helicopter Shark

The fake photo

Helicopter Shark is a composition of two photographs that gives the impression that a great white shark is leaping out of the water attacking military personnel climbing a suspended ladder attached to a special forces UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The photo was widely circulated via an email in 2001, along with a claim that it had been chosen as "National Geographic Photo of the Year". The email in question was usually written in the following form: "AND YOU THINK YOUR [sic] HAVING A BAD DAY AT WORK !!" The photo is similar to an incident in the 1966 film Batman where a shark attacks Batman on a ladder from a helicopter. This raised suspicions that the photo in question was a hoax. National Geographic publicly disavowed the photo and the claimed award as a hoax.[1][2]

The hoax has been discussed in various texts, including a marketing book to teach lessons about influence[3] and a book on teaching critical thinking.[4]

The final edited photo was created by combining a photograph of a HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter taken by Lance Cheung for the United States Air Force (USAF), and a photo taken by South African photographer Charles Maxwell. While the helicopter photo was in fact taken in front of the Golden Gate Bridge, the photo of the shark was actually taken in False Bay, South Africa.[5][6]

See also


  1. ^ Shark "Photo of the Year" Is E-Mail Hoax, National Geographic, March 8, 2005. Accessed September 11, 2007.
  2. ^ "Shark Attack".  
  3. ^ Ira Matathia and Marian L. Salzman (2003). Buzz: Harness the Power of Influence and Create Demand. John Wiley and Sons.  
  4. ^ Cris Tovani (Stenhouse Publishers). Do I Really Have to Teach Reading?: Content Comprehension, Grades 6-12. Stenhouse Publishers.  
  5. ^ McClain, Dylan Loeb (October 7, 2002). "Compressed Data; Another Big Fish Story Comes Unraveled.".  
  6. ^ "Great White internet hoax drives huge sales of photo". Sunday Territorian. June 26, 2006. ... the shark was photographed By Mr Maxwell at  

External links

  • National Geographic News article
  • Swimming With the Sharks
  • San Francisco Bay Adventures article
  • Snopes article on this photo
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