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The Hoax Photo Archive — Photo Fakery Throughout History
Deleted Details
The Cleavage Disappears. (2011) The woman shown above is Rathika Sitsabaiesan, a Canadian MP. The image on the left was her official parliamentary headshot. But in Sep 2011 a blogger noticed that although the image still appeared on the parliamentary website, it had been altered to the version on the right in which her cleavage had been digitally erased. It's not known who ordered the alteration. Sitsabaiesan has not commented on it. More…
Dati’s Disappearing Ring. (Nov 19, 2008) Photo editors at Le Figaro deleted a ring from the French justice minister's hand in order to make her appear less glamorous. More…
The Fake General Dunwoody. (November 2008) When Ann Dunwoody became the first four-star general in the American military, the Army released a doctored photo of her to the media. More…
Sarkozy’s Disappearing Love Handles. (August 2007) Paris Match was accused of pandering to French President Nicolas Sarkozy when it reduced the size of his love handles in this photo of him canoeing with his son. More…
Migrant Mother Makeover. (April 2005 issue of Popular Photography) Popular Photography's readers were outraged when the magazine ran a feature on how Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother photo could be improved. More…
Whatever It Takes. (October 2004) An ad released by Bush's 2004 presidential campaign showed a crowd scene from which the President had been digitally removed. More…
The Great Blackout of 2003. (Found online in late August 2003) This fake photo circulated widely in the days following the Great Blackout of 2003. More…
The Disappearing Nipples. (Jan/Feb 1994) A photo of Kate Moss taken by celebrity portraitist Sante D'Orazio appeared on the July 19, 1993 cover of Australia's Who Weekly magazine. Six months later, the same photo appeared on the cover of American Photo. But careful readers spotted a difference. Moss's nipples had disappeared. In response to queries, American Photo explained it had digitally removed her nipples "as a matter of taste." More…
Madonna’s Gapless Glamour. (December 1990) Madonna got mad when she discovered a photo editor had digitally closed the gap between her front teeth. More…
The Disappearing Coke Can. (March 31, 1989) An editor digitally removed a Coke can from this front-page image because he felt it ruined the composition of the photo. More…
The Missing Pole. (May 4, 1970) This photo of a young woman screaming with grief over the body of a shot student at Kent State University is one of the most famous images of the 20th Century. But in the original version of the photo, a fence pole was positioned directly behind the head of the woman. Sometime an unknown photo editor airbrushed it out. More…
The Vanishing Belly Button, 1964. (February 1964) Scandinavian Airlines placed an advertisement in newspapers throughout America. It featured a bikini-clad model posing on a rock above the caption "What to show your wife in Scandinavia." But the version that appeared in the Los Angeles Times had one detail altered. The editors of the Times airbrushed out the model's belly button. They said this was done in order to "conform to regulations." More…
Red Army Flag Over Reichstag. (May 2, 1945) This photo was both staged and doctored in an attempt to create a Soviet version of the Americans' Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima image. More…
The Commissar Vanishes. (ca. 1940) The original version of this photo showed Nikolai Yezhov, the People's Commissar for Internal Affairs, walking beside Stalin (to his left) along the Moscow-Volga Canal. But after Yezhov fell out of political favor, Soviet censors deleted him from the photo. This photo has now become one of the most famous examples of how totalitarian regimes doctor images in their attempts to rewrite history. More…
Trotsky Vanishes. (Taken in 1919; altered ca. 1967) Leon Trotsky is not in this picture, but he was in the original version of it — standing beside Lenin. The photo was taken on Nov. 7, 1919. It showed Soviet party leaders celebrating the second anniversary of the October Revolution in Red Square. But after Trotsky fell out of political favor, Soviet censors attempted to purge all evidence of his existence, which included removing him from photos such as this one. More…

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