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The Hoax Photo Archive — Photo Fakery Throughout History
Category: Celebrities
Jennifer Aniston gets a buzzcut. (2013) Originally posted to the site "Daily Makeover" on April 1, 2013 as an April Fool Day joke, this photoshopped picture of Jennifer Aniston with a buzzcut began circulating widely in Dec. 2013 along with a caption claiming that Aniston had cut her hair to show sympathy for a niece with cancer. A rep for Aniston stated that Aniston had no such niece, and the claim was "nonsense". More…
Paris Hilton Says ‘Stop Being Poor’. (Nov 2013) The original, undoctored version of this photo, taken by photographer Vince Flores at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas on April 15, 2005, showed Paris Hilton wearing a t-shirt that said, "Stop Being Desperate." The altered version began circulating in late 2013. The reworded message played on Hilton's reputation for being somewhat shallow and spoiled by her inherited wealth. More…
A Whiter Beyonce. (August 2008) Critics accused L'Oreal of lightening Beyonce's skin color in this advertisement for its cosmetics. More…
M.C. Escher Golf. (Taken Aug 18, 2006. Published June 2008) A surreal effect of impossible geometry may have been caused by the use of a telephoto lens to take this picture. More…
Cruise vs. von Stauffenberg. (Controversy from June 2008) United Artists was mistakenly accused of altering an image of German officer Claus von Stauffenberg to make him appear to resemble Tom Cruise. More…
Charlton Heston’s Home Gun Collection. (Apr 2008) After Charlton Heston died in April 2008, a series of images began to circulate online, supposedly showing the actor's home gun collection. Heston was a well-known gun enthusiast. But the guns in the photos didn't belong to him. They were actually owned by attorney Bruce Stern, who died in 2007, after which most of his collection was auctioned off. It was one of the largest firearms collections ever to go up for auction. More…
“I can promise, this will never get done”. (Created in 2005. Circulating online since 2008.) Artist Alison Jackson uses lookalikes to create images of "celebrities ostensibly caught unawares." More…
Martha’s Last Laugh. (March 2005) Newsweek indicated nowhere on the cover that this shot was actually a composite image of Martha Stewart's head pasted onto a model's body. More…
The Real Julia. (July 2003) Julia Roberts' head was pasted onto a younger version of her body. More…
Kate Winslet’s Legs. (February 2003) Kate Winslet complained that photo editors made her look too skinny on this GQ cover. More…
Tootsie Redressed. (Mar 1997 issue of Los Angeles magazine) Dustin Hoffman sued Los Angeles magazine for $5 million on account of this photo of his head pasted onto the body of a model wearing a silk gown. More…
O.J.‘s Darkened Mug Shot. (June 27, 1994) When Time magazine used a mug shot of O.J. Simpson on its June 27th cover (left), it darkened the photo and reduced the size of the prisoner ID number. However, Newsweek ran the same mug shot on its cover (right) that week, without altering it. The two covers appeared side-by-side on newsstands, making Time's decision to darken the photo far more visible. Critics charged Time with racism. More…
Oprah’s Head Transplant. (August 26, 1989) Oprah Winfrey appeared on the cover of TV Guide (left) lounging in a gauzy dress on top of a pile of money. She looked glamorous, but only the head belonged to her. The body came from a 1979 publicity shot of Ann-Margret (right) taken for a Rockette special. More…
Dickens in America. (December 1867) An early example of how a celebrity's appearance could be tidied up in the darkroom. The portrait of Dickens on the right was taken in 1861. But during Dickens' 1867 tour of the U.S., the Matthew Brady studio used darkroom techniques to improve the photo, producing the portrait on the left, which they sold to the public, promising that it showed "Mr. Dickens just as he is in his readings." More…

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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.