Category: War

Jan 2014
Orphaned Syrian Boy Sleeping Between his Parents’ Graves.
The photo, as captioned, tugged at the heartstrings. So it was no surprise that it quickly went viral. But it was soon revealed to be a staged shot taken by a photographer in Saudi Arabia as part of a conceptual art project. The graves were fake, and the boy was the photographer's nephew.
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August 5, 2006
Fake Smoke Over Beirut
A freelance photographer heightened the drama of this image distributed by Reuters by adding additional smoke.
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February 1, 2005
Islamic Hostage Action-Figure Hoax
Hostage "John Adam," whose photo appeared on internet bulletin boards used by Iraqi rebels, turned out to be a Cody action-figure doll.
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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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May 2, 1945
Red Army Flag Over Reichstag
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.
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May 8, 1943
The Master Race
The May 8, 1943 cover of the British illustrated magazine Parade showed an unkempt, dour-looking German soldier with the satirical caption, "Master Race." But the man wasn't actually a German soldier. The photo was actually a piece of British government propaganda. The photographer later admitted the man was "the ugliest Arab they could find in the streets of Cairo... whom they dressed up in a sort of uniform."
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September 5, 1936
The Falling Soldier
Despite allegations that Robert Capa staged this famous war photo, historical research shows that he did not.
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Published in 1933; debunked in 1984.
Death in the Air
Spectacular images of World War I dog fights were eventually exposed as photos of model airplanes.
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Bloody Sunday, 1905
Soviet textbooks claimed this was a photo of 1905's Bloody Sunday massacre in St. Petersburg. It was actually a reenactment of that event.
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December 1913
Ocean Execution
The New York American ran this photo, claiming that the parents of the children had been killed by Mexican soldiers. It said, "The children were driven into the water, forced to hold their hands above their heads, and shot in the back." This was a case of false captioning. The picture was actually an innocent snapshot taken by a holidaygoer in British Honduras. The children had been playing in the waves and raised their arms in order to make a better picture.
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Taken in 1863. Exposed as a fake in 1961.
A Sharpshooter’s Last Sleep
Civil War photographers used a corpse as a movable prop.
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March or April 1858
Interior of the Secundra Bagh
Human bones were disinterred and scattered around to recreate the aftermath of a battle.
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April 23, 1855
The Valley of the Shadow of Death
Roger Fenton took this photo while documenting the Crimean War for the British government. This image, considered a masterpiece of war photography, shows a simple, but haunting view of a cannonball-strewn road near Sevastopol. But in 1981 historian Mark Haworth-Booth determined that Fenton probably staged this scene, moving cannonballs from the ditch onto the road in order to create a more dramatic image.
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