Everything from the popular Farting Santa to fake Lottery Ticket stocking stuffers.

Techniques of Fakery
There are six basic techniques of faking a photo, none of which are mutually exclusive.

1: Inserting details. This includes placing an element from one photo into another to create a composite image, reproducing a detail of the photo by cloning it, superimposing an image onto another, or drawing-in details.

2: Deleting details. This is usually done by extending background elements over the unwanted detail. Or one can crop out the unwanted detail.

3: Manipulating elements within the photo. For instance, one can adjust the color, resize details, or rotate or move details.

4: falsifying the caption. (In a sense, every fake photo has been falsely captioned.)

5: Staging the scene. This is considered fakery particularly when it occurs in photojournalism. Varieties of staging a scene include using models and cutouts and inserting a prop into the scene.

6: Taking a photo at a trick angle. The most common example of this is the use of forced perspective.


Time Periods
hoax photo database

Thumbnail Gallery: Present-1840
The Hoax Photo Database catalogs examples of photo fakery throughout the history of photography. Included in the database are photos that are "real," but which have been suspected of being fake, as well as images whose veracity remains undetermined. The images are listed here in reverse-chronological order (you can also view them in chronological order, 1840 to the present). They are categorized by theme, technique of fakery, and time period. Other Viewing Options: Full Text Mode: Present-1840 or 1840-Present

The Surgeon’s Photo
Staged with a model
April 1934

Lung-Powered Flying Machine
April Fool's joke
April 1, 1934

Baby Adolf
Fake (altered in darkroom)
Late 1933

Wisconsin’s Capitol Collapses
April Fool's Day joke
April 1, 1933

Death in the Air
Staged with models
Published in 1933; debunked in 1984.

Mother Cat Stops Traffic
Staged Scene
July 29, 1925

Bloody Sunday, 1905
Staged reenactment

Ada Emma Deane’s Armistice Day Series
Fake (superimposed "spirit" faces)
November 1924

High-Pressure Hijinks
ca. 1923

Stotham, Massachusetts: The Town That Didn’t Exist
Real pictures, falsely captioned
April 1920

Trotsky Vanishes
Fake (deleted person)
Taken in 1919; altered ca. 1967

The Cottingley Fairies
Staged using paper cutouts

Ocean Execution
False caption
December 1913

Roosevelt Rides A Moose


Cat Drinks From a Bottle


Page 8 of 10 pages ‹ First  < 6 7 8 9 10 > 

Note: This form searches only the photo database. To search the entire museum, use our google search form.