Power Line wirtes about “A Bridge Too Weird” where he has a hard time matching up some photos. As someone who has done a lot of photo interpretation in litigation, I have some skill at this, and I think that at least four are from the same scene, as I will demonstrate, and it isn’t beyond a reasonable doubt that the last is as well. This doesn’t, however, detract from the main point, but reinforce it. These are more staged photos. The same guys are running away/to/from/around the same attack like there are bullets whizzing around, when in fact the attack is long over, and the place is swarming with media, including TV cameramen.
I’m going to start with this photo, because it contains all the elements that tie these photos together. This photo was taken with an extremely long focal length lens in bright sunlight, which gives it an enourmous depth of field and makes it look like these things are much closer together than they are.
I’ve used red lines to outline what I’m calling “aerial and palm”. This is a distinctive aerial standing in front of a palm tree stand. This aerial is sheathed in concrete at the base, and should not be confused with another aerial that we will see in the foreground of later pics. In blue is the “building block”. This is in the standard ugly concrete Lebanese design, but it is the only intact building in the photos. In orange is the “Intact Sedan” on the other side of the bridge (not the one on its roof) and in green are some short traffic control “Pylons” that are useful for orienting which side of the street you are on.
This is another photo taken with a more normal lens. The distortion from the earlier photo makes it harder to see the perspective here. There are the edges of a few pylons (green) showing that we are on the same side of the street, and in the distance, Aerial and Palm (red) are visible across the street from Building Block (blue). I think I see Intact Sedan, but I didn’t mark it because I wasn’t reasonably certain.
Here is where some stagecraft comes in, as our boys are now running away from, uh, the truth. We are now on the other side of the street (note the Pylons in green) and the Aerial and Palm (red) and Building Block (blue) with intact sedan (orange) are where we expect them to be. The bombed out car should be off the frame to the left.
Now we are looking up past the bombed out car. Building Block (blue) and Intact Sedan (orange) are visible across the bridge, and if we had a little more angle up and to the left, we would be able to see Aerial and Palm.
This photo causes problems. We see a Building Block and Intact Sedan, but they do not appear to match up with the others. The Building Block features some aerials that do not appear in the earlier photos, and the Sedan is facing the wrong way. In addition, the banks of the river don’t show the same terrain (one wooded, one weeds.) It is possible that we are seeing another bridge just down from those and this is a new angle of Bulding Block and Intact Sedan, but I am far from convinced. Also, the damage is not consistant with this being the same bridge at all, even at different stages of destruction. The rebar reinforcement on this bridge seems to have been sheared cleanly, while in all the other photos, the rebar was stretched and torsioned until it rubbled the surrounding roadway.
Whether the last photo matches up or not, however, they people in the foreground are obviously hamming for the camera. They aren’t in any immediate danger (the bridge has already been destroyed) but are still out running around for the cameras. I really don’t fault them for it (I’m sure it’s fun) but I do fault the photojournalists for going along with it.