News__ True or False: Phelps X LV

August 16, 2012 | By

Are these Michael Phelps shots for Louis Vuitton fake or stolen?

A few days ago, photos of Michael Phelps with Louis Vuitton luggage hit the internet. They were rumored to be part of a campaign shot by Annie Leibovitz. The brand replied to the rumors by saying that the images were "stolen" and didn't belong to them. Thing is, "stolen" is a far cry from "fake." In fact, stolen implies that they are indeed campaign photos that were leaked too soon.

It's also pretty difficult to dispute rumors that come with photographic proof. Could these shots of Michael Phelps in a bathtub and on a couch beside former Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina be crafted on Photoshop? It's not impossible but it does seem a bit outlandish that a Phelps superfan would go to that much trouble.

The entire Phelps x Louis Vuitton controversy highlights the lack of fact checking amongst rebloggers. A photo pops up and each website repeats information from their source which can result in broken telephone syndrome. Hopefully someone at Louis Vuitton was being clever in leaking the photos to generate conversation before the campaign. If they're fake images, good job Photoshopper. On the flip side, if they're real and were released without consent from head office, someone is definitely out of a job.

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