Most Famous Altered Images That Have Fooled Millions


Photo manipulation has been happening for a long time. Probably ever since photography became a thing, really. You may not even know this, but it’s also been used to change history. In today’s world, it’s very easy to slap a few things together or remove someone from a photo using AI, but back in the day, this process was incredibly time-consuming.

Some examples on this list are pretty old, and some are more recent. But they all show how this trend has been going on for decades and decades and how it’s become more and more popular over time.

1. Churchill’s Signature Cigar

Winston Churchill is known for his iconic photos that often feature him holding a cigar. However, one particular photo that was on display at The Britain At War Experience museum in London was digitally altered to show Churchil’s hardsome face in its full glory. The reason for such a minor alteration remains a mystery, but maybe it was done to prevent the future generations from taking up smoking as their hobby.

2. Fake Tsunami

This particular image was widely circulated on social media and other online platforms as a representation of the 2004 Tsunami that hit some countries in Asia. However, it was later disclosed that the image was taken in Chile, and the massive waves were added in Photoshop. It was a classic case of image manipulation, where the original photograph was doctored to create a sense of impending doom, and the whole world believed it.

3. The World Trade Centre Witness

In one of the most infamous Photoshop jobs of the 21st century, we see an “accidental witness” of the horrifying events that unfolded on 11 September 2001. It depicts a man standing on one of the towers moments before the planes hit it. Of course, this was all just a stupid joke Photoshopped by Péter Guzli to impress his friends.

4. Sad Keanu

The Situation Room photo was taken in the White House and shows a bunch of important people as they watch the special forces capture Bin Laden. This image went viral after someone posted it on the official White House Flickr account. People immideately started Photoshopping it like crazy, adding all sorts of random things, including the “Sad Keanu” meme leading many gullible people to belive Keanu was in that room.

5. Korean Military Might

A photo that was released by the Official Korean Central News Agency in 2013 purportedly depicts military exercises conducted by North Korea in an attempt to demonstrate their military power. However, upon closer examination, it is evident that some of the hovercraft in the photo are copy-pasted duplicates, which basically means this whole operation was a lazy attempt at making the North Korean military look more powerful.

6. George Bush’s Favorite Book

This pic, which dates back to 2002, shows President Bush holding a kids’ book upside-down during his visit to the George Sanchez Charter School in Houston, Texas. However, as it turns out, the book in the photo has been digitally manipulated, and in the original image, the book was being held correctly.

7. Helicopter Shark

There is a famous photo known as the “helicopter shark,” which went viral in 2001 and stayed relevant for almost a decade. The photo appears to show a great white shark leaping out of the ocean to chomp on a soldier climbing a Black Hawk ladder. However, it has been revealed that this photo is actually a result of two photos being merged together.

8. Enraged Koala

In a list of Photoshopped images, one of the lesser-known but notably spine-chilling pictures is that of a wet Koala looking like it’s out for blood. Fortunately, this freaky image was a result of superimposing a dog’s jaw over the Koala’s face.

9. Fake Giants

Some viral photos have been fabricated for a good reason, but in the end the confused users always mess it all up. For instance, an image of a colossal skeleton being excavated by archaeologists was produced for a competition called “Archaeological Anomalies.” The competition required artists and photographers to design images of discoveries so plausible that they would fool the viewers at first glance and boy did this one hit the spot!