English, Fake News

Image shared as the last tree in Rocinha, Brazil is a digitally created one


A post accompanying a picture of a single tree surrounded by buildings is widely circulated on social media with the claim that there is only one tree left in Rocinha, Brazil. Through this article let’s verify the claim made in the post.

Claim: A photograph showing that only one tree is left in Rocinha, Brazil.

Fact: The photograph was orginally shared on Instagram by a Brazilian artist, Luiz Bhering. Bhering mentioned that the image was digitally created with the aim of addressing the harsh realities of the urbanization process in Brazil. Hence the claim made in the post is False.

On reverse image search of the viral image, we found that the same image was posted by a Facebook user named Anartist, mentioning Luiz Behring in the description. Anartist also commented “it was clear from the beginning that it was an artistic work to denounce what is happening on our planet” on the post.

Upon scanning through the Instagram profile of Luiz Behring for the viral image, we found that it was posted by him on Instagram on 23 September 2018. Luiz Bhering describes himself as an artist in his profile. While posting the story, he disclosed that the picture is a digitally manipulated one. He also stated that he did it to confront the brutal urbanization process in Brazil.

Some posts by Luiz Behring on the last tree in Rocinha can be seen here and here. In one of the posts, he also mentioned the picture as a photo montage. Photomontage is a process of making a composite photograph by cutting, gluing, rearranging, and overlapping two or more photographs into a new image. Sometimes, the resulting composite image is photographed so that the final image may appear as a seamless physical print. When we carefully observe the viral image, we can find some repetitive houses in the image.

To sum it up, this image being shared as the last tree in Rocinha, Brazil is a digitally manipulated picture created using Photomontage.


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