Gallery of airbrushed photos

CR photo retouched to remove obstructions in front of Mao's portrait and to patch a hole in a banner.

The blog Pro State in Flames has posted a gallery of photos manipulated to serve prevailing political winds in the Soviet Union and China. Captions are in Chinese, but even without any annotations it's still fun to identify the holes and watch how Stalin comes and goes - an extensive display of cropping, airbrushing, and in the above image, badly-executed white-out.

Also: Can anyone confirm some strange behavior with the Baidu image search? As I was looking for the altered image of Hu Jintao shaking hands with Deng Xiaoping (later found here), I discovered that Baidu returns no results for the current president. Jiang Zemin too is completely filtered (a search for Wen Jiabao, however, results in pages filled with his beaming face).

The strange thing is this: the first search I made for 胡锦涛, it was Kelly Chen who turned up on the results page. Subsequent searches returned "No results," but after a few attempts searching with extra words added, Jay Chou came up (screenshot; note that the keyword in the address bar is different from that in the status bar URL, which corresponds to the "查看更多" link). Then "A-mei", "Shennongjia" and "Wang Yan". Plugging in Jiang Zemin and various extra characters eventually pulled up this result page, for "spicy photos".

This doesn't happen every time - maybe once for every ten attempts - and it's not reproducible for any given search. It seems completely random, but occasionally the "Sorry, no results" page will be replaced images of something completely unrelated. Is it egao, or just a bug in Baidu's keyword filter?

There are currently 7 Comments for Gallery of airbrushed photos.

Comments on Gallery of airbrushed photos

It must be keyword filter,you can try "胡总书记"

Joel, this means that you are going out of your mind or else you've been in China for too long ... in jest, of course.

Compare Zhang Dali's A Second History

Hmm... I think that the real explanation lies with the demonses. I mean, if I were a soul trapped for eterntity in some electrical wiring, I would be messing with people by giving them dirty pictures randomly during their image searches... wouldn't you?

Come to think of it, this is actually a nice way to simulate a random image search - plug in old Jiang's name, press "search" a few times, and voila! random photos.

First try, picture of a monkey.

Second try, 抱歉,没有找到与胡锦涛相关的图片。

Third try, spaces, 胡 锦 涛, lots of Hu.

Try putting a space between each Chinese character.

Works for Zhao Ziyang, the Mainland China airbrush poster boy.

China Media Timeline
Major media events over the last three decades
Danwei Model Workers
The latest recommended blogs and new media
From 2008
Front Page of the Day
A different newspaper every weekday
From the Vault
Classic Danwei posts
+ Culture and corporate propaganda in Soho Xiaobao (2007.11): Mid-2007 issues of Soho Xiaobao (SOHO小报), illustrating the complicated identity of in-house magazines run by real estate companies.
+ Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship (2010.03): Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship at an officially sanctioned meeting in Shenzhen.
+ Crowd-sourced cheating on the 2010 gaokao (2010.06): A student in Sichuan seeks help with the ancient Chinese section of this year's college entrance exam -- while the test is going on!
Danwei Archives