Hoax Museum Blog: Photos

Health warnings on airbrushed photographs? — A group of French politicians has proposed a law that would require a warning to be placed on digitally enhanced fashion images. From The Telegraph: A group of 50 politicians want a new law stating published images must have bold printed notice stating they have been digitally enhanced. Campaigning MP Valerie Boyer, of President Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party, said the wording should read:"Retouched photograph aimed at changing a person's physical appearance". Mrs Boyer, who has also…
Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2009.   Comments (20)

The Lying Down Craze — An internet fad that managed to escape my attention is the "lying down" craze, in which people post photos of themselves lying face down, hands against their sides, in unusual locations. This sounded like fun to a group of British doctors and nurses: "The staff were pictured face down on resuscitation trolleys, ward floors and the air ambulance heli-pad during a night shift at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon, Wilts." Their mistake was to then post the photos on Facebook. Seven of…
Posted: Thu Sep 10, 2009.   Comments (5)

Shanghai Sperm Bank Offers Helping Hand — Pictures showing a Shanghai Sperm Bank that allegedly "gives men a hand" with sperm donations did the rounds last year, and now they seem to be circulating again. The deal is supposedly that if you agree to get a health check and abstain from sex and masturbation, then you can donate your sperm 4-5 times a month. You get paid RMB200 per session. The sperm bank is located in Ren ji Hospital, No 145 Shan Dong Zhong Lu, Building 1, 7th FL, near Fu Zhou Lu, Shanghai, China. Click here and
Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2009.   Comments (15)

Did Robert Capa fake the ‘falling soldier’ photo? — Robert Capa's photo of a soldier falling backward from the impact of a shot to his head is one of the most famous images in the history of photography. But for decades people have argued that Capa staged the shot. In the hoax photo archive I have a brief summary of the controversy. I come down on the side of those who feel the photo wasn't staged. Adding new fuel to the controversy, a Catalan newspaper now claims to have found evidence that Capa staged the shot. From The Independent:
Posted: Wed Jul 22, 2009.   Comments (2)


The Photoshopped Refugee? — 11points.com has posted a list of 11 photos where black people were awkwardly photoshopped in or out. Most of them I've seen before. A few of them I even have on this site. But there was one I hadn't seen before. It's titled "Photoshopped diversity in a Lebanon refugee camp." 11points provides this description: In the summer of 2006, this photo ran in the New York Times and is a very important lesson about photojournalism. If you're going to Photoshop a black guy into a Lebanese…
Posted: Mon Jul 13, 2009.   Comments (27)

Is one of the Michael Jackson rehearsal photos faked? — Holymoly.com suggests that one of the rehearsal photographs of Michael Jackson, said to have been taken the night before he died, is fake. They point out that "the backdrop mysteriously disappears in between Michael's legs." They describe this as a "classic photoshop blunder" and suggest "this could be a fake composite, with Jackson's image being super imposed on top of another pic." It does look unusual, but I wouldn't be so quick to label it as photoshopped. That may just be how the…
Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2009.   Comments (10)

Students hoax Paris Match — A pair of French students attending Strasbourg university won first place in Paris Match's photoreporting competition, a prize that came with €5000. But upon receiving the prize, they revealed that all their photos had been staged. From the British Journal of Photography: Guillaume Chauvin and Rémi Hubert won for a reportage chronicling the harsh difficulties some poor students encounter while studying at the Strasbourg university. Their images showed students living in basements or…
Posted: Fri Jun 26, 2009.   Comments (3)

Does Farrah Fawcett’s hair spell “SEX” in her famous poster? — In honor of Farrah Fawcett, let's revisit one of the major urban legends of the late 1970s: that the curls of Fawcett's hair, in her famous red-bathing-suit poster, spell out the word "SEX." This legend arose to explain the incredible popularity of the poster, which sold over 12 million copies (by some accounts). It was always a bit of a mystery why that image in particular became such a focus of popular fixation. After all, there were plenty of other posters of scantily clad…
Posted: Thu Jun 25, 2009.   Comments (18)

More news from Iran — Catching up on all the stuff coming out of Iran in the wake of the election: The Minister's Secret Letter Photocopies of a letter allegedly from the Iranian minister of interior to Iran's Supreme Leader have been circulating throughout Iran. The letter discusses "your orders for Mr Ahmadinejad to be elected president," and states "for your information only, I am telling you the actual results." Supposedly, the actual results show that Ahmadinejad lost badly, getting only 5,698,417…
Posted: Mon Jun 22, 2009.   Comments (2)

Diversity, Toronto Style — Another case of cut-and-paste diversity. The city of Toronto wanted to feature a racially diverse assortment of people on the cover of its summer Fun Guide. Unable to find a photo that met that criteria, it created one via photoshop. The original is on the left, the altered cover on the right. (That's a really bad photoshop job.) The alteration was noticed by a graphics editor at the National Post. The most famous case of cut-and-paste diversity was the cover of the 2001-2002…
Posted: Fri Jun 12, 2009.   Comments (8)

The Panama Women’s Cricket Team — The latest viral hoax photos circulating online claim to show shots of the Panama Women's Cricket Team. It doesn't take a degree in Photoshop to realize these women's buttocks have been digitally altered. Fool Blogger has tracked down what appears to be one of the unaltered originals. The Fakes: The Real One: What I don't know is whether this actually is the Panama Women's Cricket Team. A google search for "Panama Women's Cricket Team" simply brings up these photos.
Posted: Fri May 15, 2009.   Comments (28)

Saudis Censor Katy Perry — Blogger Susie Of Arabia reports that after buying a copy of Katy Perry's album One of the Boys in Saudi Arabia, she realized that all the pictures of Katy Perry had been heavily doctored by Saudi censors. Below (left) is the original album cover, and on the right is the Saudi version. This is standard practice in Saudi Arabia. A few years ago I posted about Mariah Carey album covers that were similarly doctored by the Saudis. Susie suggests that the Katy Perry albums were…
Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2009.   Comments (15)

New Lincoln Death Photos — After President Lincoln died, there was a huge demand for photos of him lying in his casket. However, the army didn't allow any photos to be taken. As a result, a lot of fake Lincoln death photos appeared. I've posted about this before, and I have an example of a fake Lincoln death photo in the Hoax Photo Database. Mary Curtis just sent me an old newspaper clipping describing some Lincoln death photos owned by her grandmother. Unfortunately, no one knows where the photos are now.…
Posted: Wed Apr 08, 2009.   Comments (7)

Missing Women — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the rest of his new government posed for an official photo in Jerusalem on April 1. But when the photo appeared in the ultra-orthodox newspaper Yated Neeman, all the women had been digitally removed from the photo. Apparently ultra-orthodox Jews don't like the idea of women in politics and seem to believe that if they can't see them, then they don't exist. [Suomen Kuvalehti]
Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2009.   Comments (4)

Can you see Half Dome from the Central Valley? — This may be of interest only to Californians, but so be it... On February 18 the Patterson Irrigator posted a picture that appeared to show the Half Dome in Yosemite, visible from Patterson. (It's a little hard to see, but if you look closely it's there.) The thing is, Patterson is in the Central Valley, about 100 miles from Yosemite. So the photo met with a very skeptical reaction. A lot of people simply refused to believe that Half Dome could be seen from that far away. There was…
Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2009.   Comments (19)

Wolverine Blow-Up Doll — A picture of a Wolverine toy with an unfortunately positioned blow-up valve has been doing the rounds. It's another case of satire mistaken as news. The picture originated on the satire site christwire.org, under the headline "Marvel Now Promotes Gay Agenda With Wolverine Toy." But once the image got loose on the web, its satirical origin was lost. Thus, the confusion.
Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2009.   Comments (11)

Bush and the Turkey — I received the following email about the photo in the Hoax Photo Database of Pres. Bush holding a "Trophy Turkey" during his 2003 Thanksgiving trip to Iraq: you claim that the turkey George Bush is holding is plastic. This urban myth has been debunked a thousand times and yet still keeps resurfacing. Even the New York Times was forced to print a retraction of this myth back in 2004... If you want to maintain a reputation for accuracy I suggest you amend the caption accordingly. The…
Posted: Mon Mar 02, 2009.   Comments (31)

Krassner’s Anti-Communism Poster — In 1963 Paul Krassner included a poster that said "Fuck Communism" in his magazine The Realist. The poster was very popular with counter-culture types. Kurt Vonnegut described it as a "miracle of compressed intelligence nearly as admirable for potent simplicity, in my opinion, as Einstein's e=mc2" because it demonstrated "how preposterous it was for so many people to be responding to both words with such cockamamie Pavlovian fear and alarm." Krassner himself often told this story about…
Posted: Thu Feb 05, 2009.   Comments (6)

Eating the world’s hottest pepper — This has to be fake. If he really did eat the Bhut Jolokia, the world's hottest pepper, he wouldn't be talking by the end of the video. His tongue would be too blistered and swollen. Still, it's a good video. (via J-Walk)
Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2009.   Comments (27)

Is “Where the Hell is Matt” a hoax? — Time magazine listed the Where The Hell Is Matt? video (which shows Matt Harding doing an odd little dance in various locations around the world) as the #1 viral video of 2008. But at a conference on December 11, Harding confessed that the video was just a hoax. He said the whole thing had been shot in front of a green screen, and that animatronic mannequins had been used to make it look like people were dancing with him. Check out the full video of his confession: Now, when I watch…
Posted: Wed Jan 07, 2009.   Comments (13)

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