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The Hoax Photo Archive — Photo Fakery Throughout History
Staged Scene (using a movable prop)
The Perambulating Skull. (May 1936) Arthur Rothstein took this photo while documenting drought conditions in South Dakota for the Resettlement Administration. But Republican papers noticed that the same skull appeared in other photos by Rothstein and accused him of using it as a "movable prop" to dramatize the drought for political purposes. They mockingly referred to the cow's head as the "perambulating skull." More…
A Sharpshooter’s Last Sleep. (Taken in 1863. Exposed as a fake in 1961.) Civil War photographers used a corpse as a movable prop. More…
Street Urchins Tossing Chestnuts. (1857) This may look like a real-life scene caught by the camera, but in fact is staged. Cameras were too slow in the 1850s to record something as quick-moving as a tossed chestnut. So Oscar Rejlander suspended a chestnut in mid-air with a piece of fine thread in order to create the scene. More…

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