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

Tootsie Redressed
Fake (composite)
Mar 1997 issue of Los Angeles magazine

O.J.‘s Darkened Mug Shot
Fake (altered color)
June 27, 1994

Fire on Ice
Fake (composite)
Feb 16, 1994

The Disappearing Nipples
Deleted details
Jan/Feb 1994

White Hot Mama
Fake (composite)
July 1992

Missing in Action
Fake (composite)
July, 1991

Madonna’s Gapless Glamour
Fake (digital plastic surgery)
December 1990

Oprah’s Head Transplant
Fake (composite)
August 26, 1989

The Disappearing Coke Can
Deleted detail
March 31, 1989

Sinking Bus
Mar. 3, 1988

The Case of the Moving Pyramids
Fake (digitally altered)
February 1982

Yeah Eckerd

Francis Hetling’s Victorian Waifs
Fake (staged & artificially aged)

The Missing Pole
Deleted detail
May 4, 1970

Falsely claimed to be paranormal in origin
Gained notoriety in 1967

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