A picture is worth a thousand words, they say. But it is not always true that these images tell the truth, not even if they are photographs that appear to portray reality.

That does not surprise us so much today, in a world where retouching what is photographed is a widespread custom and faking photos is a matter of minutes.

But it was not always so easy. However, since the advent of technology in the 19th century, fake photographs have circulated.

Next we present you 7 of the false images that have had the most notoriety in the last two centuries.

1. The first fake photograph – 1840

In the race to perfect the photographic process in the 1830s, Frenchmen Hippolyte Bayard and Louis Daguerre became embroiled in a bitter dispute over the title of “father of photography.” (See picture here


When Daguerre revealed his daguerreotype (1939), the first practical photographic process, before Bayard, the latter responded by creating that photo, of a supposed drowned man who had committed suicide, and which turns out to be a self-portrait.

The image was accompanied by this caption:

“The corpse you see here is that of M. Bayard, inventor of the process you have just been shown. To my knowledge, this ingenious and indefatigable experimenter has been perfecting his discovery for about three years.

“The government, which has been so generous to Monsieur Daguerre, has said that it can do nothing for Monsieur Bayard, and the poor wretch threw himself into the water in despair.

“Oh, the vagaries of human life! He has been in the morgue for several days and no one has come to acknowledge or claim him.”

Bayard, of course, was alive, and it was all staged for attention.

Although Bayard gained recognition for his work, he remained in the shadow of Daguerre and the Englishman William Henry Fox Talbot.

Today he is best known as the creator of the first fake image.

2. Spirits, 1862-75

In 1861, William Mumler took a self-portrait and the shadow of a woman appeared in the background. (See picture here)

What Mumler called a mistake, his friends called the first ghost photo.

Mumler decided to capitalize on the “mistake” and became “the spirit photographer”.

He claimed he could bring together for the last time, at least on camera, those who were grieving their loved ones who died, many from the American Civil War.

His reputation as the man who could photograph ghosts spread, and despite skepticism from some and accusations of fraud, there were many willing to pay for the service.

Other photographers tried unsuccessfully to recreate the process and produce their own spirit photographs, but could only do so by using two negatives and printing a single image, something Mumler did not do. (See picture here)

Despite the efforts of many researchers, no one was able to solve the riddle of exactly how he created his apparitions.

One possible explanation was that he had found new ways to control the chemical reactions on which photography at the time depended.

Two decades after stumping the experts, the “Mumler process,” as it was called, revolutionized the ability to reproduce images allowing them to be printed directly on newsprint.

In this way, he contributed to the fact that the photographs not only became ubiquitous, but also became proof of whether something had really happened or not.

A great irony, unless you believe that ghosts exist and can be photographed.

3. Land of Giants – 1911

This is one of the whimsical postcards that American photographer Alfred Stanley Johnson, Jr. specialized in, extolling Wisconsin’s agricultural bounty. (See picture here)

In addition to large product and animal images, it added captions indicating that the bountiful crops came from local communities.

Fantasy postcards emerged in the early 20th century, when people realized that, using physically manipulated images by photographers, they could create or sustain utopian myths about a city or region.

Rural communities mainly produced them in the hope that they would serve to encourage new population settlement and growth.

Johnson’s whimsical postcards reaffirmed the American myth of abundance, which was often in contrast to reality.

4. Roosevelt and a Moose – 1912

Yes, in this photo the naturalist, explorer, hunter, writer, soldier and US president from 1901 to 1909, Theodore Roosevelt, is crossing a river on a giant moose. (See picture here)

Not out of line with what you’d expect of Roosevelt, since many of his real-life adventures seem fictional.

But while it is true that he survived an assassination attempt, he nearly died while exploring the amazon jungle and became the first president to drive a car and fly in a plane, he never rode a moose.

The image was created by the photography firm Underwood and Underwood as part of a collage titled “The Race for the White House,” a humorous triptych published in the New York Tribune in 1912, featuring three of the four presidential hopefuls riding the animals that identified their parties.

Roosevelt was running for the newly created Progressive Party, nicknamed the Bull Moose after he bragged about feeling “strong as a bull moose.”

5. Fairies, 1917

In December 1920, the writer Arthur Conan Doyle unknowingly gave credence to one of the biggest hoaxes of the 20th century when he published the world famous photographs of the Cottingley Fairies. (See picture here)

The story began in the garden of a house in the village of Cottingley, near the English city of Leeds. The photographs had been taken by cousins ​​Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths when they were 16 and 9 years old respectively.

With the endorsement of the famous author, the girls’ work spread throughout the world.

If you wonder how the mind that created super detective Sherlock Holmes was tricked by two young women armed with nothing but paper clippings and push pinsthe answer lies, in part, in the pain caused by the First World War.

Conan Doyle had lost his son in the war and felt great remorse because he had encouraged him to go to the front.

Like many others in the postwar period, he became interested in theosophy, a movement that studied the spiritual world, searching for alternative dimensions where life might exist.

If fairies existed and the supernatural could be photographed, that was an argument in favor of spiritualism: loved ones would not be gone forever. (See picture here)

The author had been commissioned to write a magazine article about the world of fairies when he saw the photos.

To today’s eyes, the figures of the fairies are clearly two-dimensional and the photos, in general, excessively posed.

But if we consider the period and the fact that they were taken by girls, they are of good quality.

Conan Doyle asked specialist photographers to examine the images to establish whether they were genuine. And, he wrote, “after carefully analyzing all possible sources of error, a strong prima facie case has been built” for its veracity.

The writer died in 1930, but the debate over the photos raged for decades until, in 1983, Frances and Elsie confessed that the photographs had been faked.

6. The Loch Ness Monster – 1934

From the first account of Saint Columba in AD 565 of a monster that lurks beneath the waters of Loch Ness, the search for the affectionately named ‘Nessie’ has not ceased. (See picture here)

Over the years, various images have emerged purporting to prove the existence of the monster, including this one, taken by Dr. Robert Kenneth Wilson in 1934 and published in the Daily Mail that same year.

It was known as the “Surgeon’s Photograph” after Colonel Wilson, who offered the image to the newspaper, refused to associate his name with it.

The image is, in fact, of a toy submarine with a carved wooden head and was done by Chris Spurling.

Spurling confessed decades later that the conspiracy was hatched by his father-in-law, hunter Marmaduke Wetherell, who had been hired by the Daily Mail to find the monster and who was publicly humiliated by the newspaper after presenting hippo tracks as proof of the conspiracy. Ness existence.

He allegedly hatched the elaborate plan to get revenge on the diary.

7. UFO – 1976

When Swiss citizen Billy Meier claimed in the 1970s that he had proof that he had been in contact with aliens from the cluster star of the Pleiades since he was five years old, few believed him. (See picture here)

Determined to prove his story, in 1976 Meier produced photographs purporting to show UFOs hovering over the Swiss countryside.

Though widely dismissed as forgeries, they were published in a 1979 book by former US Air Force pilot Wendelle C Stevens, who claimed they had not been tampered with.

Other ufologists, however, were skeptical about the images.

What gave them new life was their appearance in the publicity material for the American science fiction series “The X-Files”.

One of them was used as the background for the “I want to believe” sign posted in the office of FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder, played by David Duchovny. (see picture here)

* Article with content from “Fake news: 8 of the most notorious photograph hoaxes, from fairies to UFOs” by Charlotte Hodgman, editor of BBC History Reveal.

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BBC-NEWS-SRC: https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-65612880, IMPORTING DATE: 2023-05-20 12:30:08


Original Publisher: https://www.eltiempo.com/cultura/entretenimiento/estas-son-las-seis-fotografias-falsas-mas-famosas-de-la-historia-770301