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24 Famous Hoax Photographs And How They Were Faked

Since the dawn of Photoshop, image altering has been a controversial topic among professional photographers, their subjects, and their public audiences alike. Transforming images to blur the line between fact and fiction has become a common occurrence in all realms of entertainment and news around the world, from tweaking a model’s look on a magazine cover to inserting realistic aliens and monsters into blockbuster films to altering photos of missile launches to create threatening propaganda.

However, what many people don’t realize is that the falsification of photographs started long before Photoshop made it as easy as the click of a mouse. Faked photographs have been around almost as long as photography itself. The invention of photography presented a new medium for hoaxers and manipulators to transform images to fit their needs. Whether a hoaxer’s intention was hurtful or humorous, the new technology of photography presented an unprecedented opportunity: a way to create images that looked so real that people had no choice but to trust them.

From its inception, photography and hoaxery went hand-in-hand, like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. Since the 19th century, people have been manipulating images, combining negatives, staging scenes, and building dummies to trick audiences into believing that what they see in the image is real. Here’s a list of some of the sneakiest, scariest, and silliest photographic hoaxes throughout history and how the hoaxers created these famous images.

 

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