Composite Images

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December 2005
Holiday Greetings, from Spain’s Royal Family
Unable to gather for a photo shoot, the Spanish royal family instead digitally assembled for its Christmas holiday photo.
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March 2005
Martha’s Last Laugh
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.
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Appeared online in early January 2005
Tsunami Seen From a High-Rise
This photo supposedly showed a scene from the devastating Asian tsunami of December 2004, but the city in the picture is Antofagasta, Chile.
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First posted online September 11, 2004
Home Computer of the Future
Popular Science magazine did not publish this image in 1954, predicting that it was what a home computer would look like fifty years in the future.
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Circulating online since early 2004
Giant Human Skeleton
Despite what this photo appears to show, archaeologists did not unearth a giant human skeleton in Saudi Arabia.
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Circulating online since Feb 2004
Hanoi John
Not only had Fonda not shared the stage with Kerry, she hadn’t even attended the rally shown here.
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Found online in 2003
Manitoba Home Security
A digital composite makes it appear that polar bears are relaxing outside someone's house.
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Created March 29, 2003.
British Soldier in Basra
This digital composite slipped past the editors of the LA Times and ran on the paper's front page.
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Circulating online since September 2001.
Tourist Guy
Created by a Hungarian man as a bit of dark humor to share with his friends, this photo became one of the most widely viewed images online in the weeks after 9/11.
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Circulating online since Aug 2001
Helicopter Shark
Despite what this photo shows, a Great White shark has never attacked a helicopter in San Francisco Bay.
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The Tip of the Iceberg
Photographer Ralph Clevenger created this image in 1999 by compositing together several different photos. He intended it as an art photo and never presented it otherwise. But around 2001, it began to circulate online with a false caption claiming it was a shot taken by a "Rig Manager for Global Marine Drilling in St. Johns, Newfoundland" and that "They actually have to divert the path of these things away from the rig by towing them with ships!"
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September 2000
Cut-and-Paste Diversity
University of Wisconsin-Madison officials pasted a black student's face into a crowd scene that appeared on the cover of the undergraduate application brochure (left). After the student newspaper revealed the alteration, embarrassed university officials explained they had wanted to highlight the campus's racial diversity, but had been unable to find a suitable photo. So they created one. The university subsequently attempted to recall all the brochures.
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Mar 1997 issue of Los Angeles magazine
Tootsie Redressed
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.
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Feb 16, 1994
Fire on Ice
Harding and Kerrigan were seen skating together on this Newsday cover, but the scene never occurred in real life.
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July 1992
White Hot Mama
Ann Richards, governor of Texas, appeared on the cover of Texas Monthly in a "Bad Girl" pose astride a white-and-chrome Harley-Davidson. But Richards hadn't posed for the photo because she was unable to schedule time for a photoshoot. Texas Monthly created the shot by combining a stock photo of her head with a picture of a model. Richards later said that she loved the photo.
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August 26, 1989
Oprah’s Head Transplant
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.
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Dr. Schweitzer in the Congo
More than thirty years after its initial publication, this famous photo by W. Eugene Smith was discovered to be two photos composited together.
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The Tydings Affair
As payback for a political slight, the staff of Sen. Joseph McCarthy created a photo that appeared to show Sen. Millard Tydings (right) chatting with the head of the American Communist Party (left) — although in reality the two men had not met. They released the photo shortly before a 1950 senate race in which Tydings was running, and it is believed to have contributed to Tydings' defeat in that election.
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