Staged Scene

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Jan 2014
Orphaned Syrian Boy Sleeping Between his Parents’ Graves.
The photo, as captioned, tugged at the heartstrings. So it was no surprise that it quickly went viral. But it was soon revealed to be a staged shot taken by a photographer in Saudi Arabia as part of a conceptual art project. The graves were fake, and the boy was the photographer's nephew.
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October 3, 2007
Paper Tiger
The South China tiger in this photo, a species feared to be extinct, turned out to be a paper cutout.
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Created in 2005. Circulating online since 2008.
“I can promise, this will never get done”
Artist Alison Jackson uses lookalikes to create images of "celebrities ostensibly caught unawares."
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February 1, 2005
Islamic Hostage Action-Figure Hoax
Hostage "John Adam," whose photo appeared on internet bulletin boards used by Iraqi rebels, turned out to be a Cody action-figure doll.
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Late 2002
The Misleading Steak Premiere
A government investigation concluded there was a disparity between the amount of toppings shown in this ad, and the amount on the actual sandwich.
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Published Sep 20, 2002
The Lackawanna Shooter
A New York Times photographer was accused of staging this photo "like a fashion shoot."
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February 1982
The Case of the Moving Pyramids
In what became the first high-profile example of digital photo manipulation, National Geographic moved the pyramids slightly closer together to fit within the frame of the cover.
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Yeah Eckerd
The news photographer staged the scene by having a fan write the phrase "Yeah Eckerd" on the soles of his feet.
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Francis Hetling’s Victorian Waifs
These photos of Victorian-era street children turned out to be modern frauds.
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October 20, 1967
The Bluff Creek Bigfoot
Bigfoot believers claim this is a photo of that elusive North American primate. Skeptics argue it shows a person in an ape suit.
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The Peppered Moth
The many biology textbooks that used this image did not reveal that the moths were dead and glued to the bark.
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December 13, 1952
Venusian Scoutcraft
What George Adamski claimed was a photo of a UFO looks suspiciously like a lampshade with ping pong balls glued to it.
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April 1, 1950
The Kiss at City Hall
Robert Doisneau steadfastly maintained that this photo of a couple kissing on a street in Paris was a spontaneous scene, fortuitously caught on film. Until he was sued by two people who claimed to be the couple in the scene. Doisneau then confessed he had staged the scene using professional models, who were not the people suing him.
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May 2, 1945
Red Army Flag Over Reichstag
This photo was both staged and doctored in an attempt to create a Soviet version of the Americans' Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima image.
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May 8, 1943
The Master Race
The May 8, 1943 cover of the British illustrated magazine Parade showed an unkempt, dour-looking German soldier with the satirical caption, "Master Race." But the man wasn't actually a German soldier. The photo was actually a piece of British government propaganda. The photographer later admitted the man was "the ugliest Arab they could find in the streets of Cairo... whom they dressed up in a sort of uniform."
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May 1936
The Perambulating Skull
Arthur Rothstein took this photo while documenting drought conditions in South Dakota for the Resettlement Administration. But Republican papers noticed that the same skull appeared in other photos by Rothstein and accused him of using it as a "movable prop" to dramatize the drought for political purposes. They mockingly referred to the cow's head as the "perambulating skull."
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circa 1935
Whopper Hoppers
Giant grasshoppers were particularly popular subjects for photo fakery during the 1930s. In this image, taken on a farm near Mitchell, South Dakota by an unknown photographer, three men struggle to subdue "the largest grasshopper in existence." The "whopper hopper" appears to have been a wooden model.
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April 1934
The Surgeon’s Photo
This is the most famous Loch Ness Monster photo. It was long believed to have been taken on April 19, 1934 by a British surgeon who said he noticed something moving in the water while he was driving along the Loch. The photo actually shows a fake serpent's head attached to a toy submarine, and it wasn't taken by the surgeon. His role was merely to serve as a credible front-man for the hoax.
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