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 Vanishing Belly Button, 1964
Deleted detail
February 1964

The Peppered Moth
Staged using dead moths

Dr. Schweitzer in the Congo
Composite image

Venusian Scoutcraft
Staged with a model
December 13, 1952

The Kiss at City Hall
April 1, 1950

The Tydings Affair
Fake (composite)

Red Army Flag Over Reichstag
Fake (staged & doctored)
May 2, 1945

Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima
Feb 23, 1945

The Master Race
False caption
May 8, 1943

The Nazi Air Marker Hoax
Real pictures, falsely captioned
August 1942

The Commissar Vanishes
Fake (deleted person)
ca. 1940

Biggest Fish Ever Caught


The Brown Lady of Raynham
Probably a double exposure
September 19, 1936

The Perambulating Skull
May 1936

Whopper Hoppers
Either staged or composites.
circa 1935

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