Shark Washing Up On Kitty Hawk, North Carolina Beach Is Misleading Photo With Misattribution

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A photograph showing a 20-foot-long shark that had been washed up on a beach in Kitty Hawk, N.C., is photoshopped with a false attribution for the beach. Social media users have been sharing a photograph of a large shark that has been stranded on a Kitty Hawk beach.

While the original backstory to the image of the shark is real, the location of the shark has been changed and repurposed without the permission from the original photographer.

Where did this photoshopped shark image originate? Digital artist Alex Lex’s Facebook page, ALEX LEX OBX Photographer, specializes in taking exotic animals and placing them in various locations around North Carolina. However, his reimagined photographs are not real such as the shark one.

However, the above shark is a composite of two images, according to Snopes. The post has been shared over 50,000 times with close to 10,000 comments on the post. Snopes noted that the problem with this image was that many people not familiar with Lex’s body of work believed that it was real.

Snopes explained that the photo was taken by Jack Cohen of Jack Cohen Photography who published the real image on Sept. 6, 2015. Cohen identified the image as having taken place in Cape Code, Mass., and that the shark eventually died. The photo appeared on with the following story:

Hundreds of people were enjoying a Sunday morning on the Cape when an unexpected beachgoer showed up on the shore. A 14-foot great white shark stranded itself on Whitecrest Beach in Wellfleet, where it would eventually die despite a frenzied effort to return it to the water.

Here is another example of Lex’s work that actually uses the same background as the shark pic.

As far as the hoax image, Cohen was not happy about it. On his Facebook page, Cohen commented on Lex’s use of his image and has threatened legal action against Lex and asked others for help:

Hi everyone, this guy is ripping off my original shark photo and trying to take it as his own. It is now going viral and any help you can lend in commenting on his photo that I am the original photographer and that this is copyright infringement would be really appreciated! Thank you!

Sharks have been sighted in North Carolina. A 5-foot baby male great white shark named Bruin was seen hanging out just off of Kure Beach, N.C. Ocearch says Bruin pinged just east of Kure Beach on Feb. 16 and appears to be headed back out to the Atlantic Ocean. Bruin is a young of the year white shark and was tagged on August 12, 2017 during Expedition New York, Ocearch says.

Where did you think of the fake image showing the large shark stranded on a Kitty Hawk beach? Did you believe the fake image was real or see people sharing it falsely on social media? Let us know in the comments section.

Author: Shawn Rice

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