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

Louis Vuitton Designer SARS Mask
Fake (digitally altered)
April 2003

British Soldier in Basra
Fake (composite)
Created March 29, 2003.

Shuttle Columbia Explosion Photos
Falsely captioned movie screenshots

Kate Winslet’s Legs
Fake (digital plastic surgery)
February 2003

The Misleading Steak Premiere
Misleading presentation of a product
Late 2002

The Lackawanna Shooter
Allegedly staged
Published Sep 20, 2002

Leftist Patriot
Fake (digitally altered)
Circulating online since 2002.

Bush Reads Book Upside-Down
Fake (digitally altered)
Found online, September 2002.

Mid-Island Fish
Fake (digitally altered)
July 29, 2002.

Tourist Guy
Fake (composite)
Circulating online since September 2001.

Helicopter Shark
Fake (composite)
Circulating online since Aug 2001

A Sonic Boom

The Tip of the Iceberg
Fake (composite and often a false caption)

Cut-and-Paste Diversity
Fake (composite)
September 2000

Snowball the Monster Cat
Fake (digitally altered)
Circulating online since early 2000

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