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Rider featured in The Times accuses paper of misleading use of image

Joseph Delves
6 Apr 2020

Cyclist Francis Cade says simultaneous shot to that used in the Times shows foreshortening effect of telephoto lens

Pages six and seven of today’s Times newspaper feature a double-page spread on the Government’s threat to shut parks unless people stick to social distancing rules.

Cyclist Francis Cade was surprised to find himself in the middle of the main image. Shot on Box Hill this Sunday, he has a different perspective.

In the image featured in the Times, his girlfriend - who he lives with - can be seen reaching into her pocket to snap her own picture. However, the image she took makes the riders appear drastically further apart than they seem in the published photograph.

Comparing the two side-by-side shows the dramatic foreshortening effect of the photographer's telephoto lens.

Well-known on social media, Cade explained to Cyclist that he was worried about the possible effect on his reputation and business of appearing to break social distancing rules.

The article in The Times refers to ‘large groups of cyclists riding on the roads in the Surrey Hills’. It further mentions that Surrey Police had earlier appealed for people to follow the rules, and asking people not to travel to beauty spots to take exercise.

Having gone out riding with just the person who took the second photo, he says the other riders in The Times image were unconnected.

‘I didn’t see any cyclist breaking social distancing rules,' Cade explained.

Box Hill in Surrey is a popular spot with London cyclists. At the time, Cade says he wasn’t aware of being photographed and suggested the photographer must have been some way back from the road.

Shooting long-lens images to make areas appear more crowded than they otherwise seem has been a recurring trope in much recent coverage of the Covid-19 crisis.

The photographer of the photograph that appears in The Times has been approached for comment.

This article was updated to clarify that Cade and his riding companion are a cohabiting couple and therefore legimately allowed to exercise together

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