Photo by Elias Edouard for Getty Images. 

A reader sent Der Spiegel an email arguing that this photo and the series that come with it was too baroque, elaborate to be actually untouched. It had to be a fake for it looked a little bit too much like Jesus being taken down from the cross.

Here’s the email by Hans-Peter Stricker:

“I have serious doubts that the two photos accompanying the article ‘The Manbij Experiment’ on pages 93 and 94 of the print issue are 'real.’ I myself and every other layman I pointed this out to immediately noticed that 'something’ wasn’t right about these two pictures: They seem 'too beautiful to be true,’ too arranged, too composed, too much baroque 'Descent from the Cross’ and 'Pietà’…”

“Coincidentally, they are from the same photographer and the same agency. Was nobody at SPIEGEL suspicious? Was the authenticity of the pictures verified?”

“Please take this inquiry seriously and not too lightly. I expect a serious answer. And am very curious to know.”

“Best regards”

Spiegel educated Hans-Peter on its process before publishing photos. A team of reviewers would always make sure that the photos published in Der Spiegel weren’t fake. Elias Edouard, 21, freelance photographer was confronted by Der Spiegel with the reader’s suspicions, to which he replied:

“I can understand that readers mistrust images, but I also hope that they not only consider the authenticity of the photos, but that they also empathize with what the Syrian people have been experiencing living under constant fire the past 19 months. I hope that my series helps open people’s eyes.”

Thanks, Ed, for doing the right thing.