Seeing is believing. Or at least, it used to be. There was a time when photographic evidence was about as solid in court as DNA is today. Sure, images could be manipulated, but there were always tell-tale signs. Then along came Photoshop, and altered pictures became a little more convincing. As users – both professional and amateur – became more and more proficient with photo-altering software, those pictures started to become almost indistinguishable from an untouched pic.
There have been plenty of stories of photographs that have been used to convince audiences that some event took place, only for it to be discovered that the evidence had been faked. Take the case of Zilla van den Born, a 25-year-old Dutch artist who created a series of photographs to convince her family that she had taken a six-week vacation across East Asia. Rather than actually take the trip, she spent 42 days hiding in her home in a much less expensive (and frankly, more depressing) effort to create the trip through photo-editing. Van den Born claims the whole ordeal was an “art project,” but whatever her motives, her stunt just illustrates that you can’t trust a photo anymore.
These days, “it’s not Photoshopped!” is a common disclaimer on pictures appearing on social media and even in the news. It has gotten to the point that when we see an incredible pic, often our first gut reaction is that it must be fake. After all, good photographers are harder to come by than amateur photo editors with good software and too much time on their hands.
With all that said, here is a list of pictures that, at first glance, look like they could have been created in a dark basement rather than actually capturing an image of the real world. The catch is, some of them are actually real, while others are clever fakes. Can you spot the difference? Read on to see if you’re right!
Body: 10/10 Face: About 72
He knows he looks good, but he doesn’t want to flaunt it. It’s possible the photographer knew what he was doing when he took this photo, but it’s much more likely that this was just a happy accident. What makes this even funnier is that the old man with the killer body looks like he was caught off guard but decided to smile for the camera anyway. And the bro behind him seems to be saying, “Hands off – he’s mine!”
Considerably Less Badass Than He Thought
We’re not sure how this guy got stuck, or where exactly he’s stuck. It’s not quite an empty swimming pool, and doesn’t look like a skate park (we’re also disappointed not to see a skateboard in the picture.) What we do know is that this is really really funny because of how close this poor guy is to freedom. But even though the top of his enclosure is at about head height, the slope makes it impossible to climb out without an entire crew of first responders to help.
It Was Earth All Along…
This freaky-looking Statue of Liberty looks like it was cobbled together from the remains of some war-torn city. It makes for a really convincing image, but it’s actually done entirely by computer. The eerie image takes real photos of bombed-out buildings and digitally piles them together to give us the picture of Lady Liberty triumphing in the darkest of times. So while all the parts are real images, the picture as a whole is a fabrication.