The Museum of Hoaxes
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Female thieves hide money in their bras, 1950
A black lion: real or fake?
The Society for Indecency to Naked Animals, 1959
Dog wins art contest, 1974
Use your left ear to detect lies
Rachael Ray cooks her family and her dog
The Berners Street Hoax, 1810
Bizarre pictographs of Emmanuel Domenech, 1860
Can a bar of soap between your sheets ease muscle cramps?
'Solar Armor' freezes man in Nevada Desert, 1874
Dr. Schweitzer in the Congo
W. Eugene Smith took this photo of Dr. Albert Schweitzer helping to build a hospital in the Congo. It served as the lead photograph in a photo essay about Schweitzer, titled A Man of Mercy, commissioned by Life magazine.

More than thirty years after its publication, researcher Glenn Willumson, who was writing Smith's biography, discovered something new about the photo. As he was sorting through Smith's negatives, he realized that the famous photo was actually two photos composited together. Schweitzer and the man behind him are from one negative. The hand and the saw in the foreground come from a second negative. Smith apparently inserted the hand and saw into the image to conceal an area of fogging on the main negative.

Smith's editors at Life never knew it was a composite image, because Smith had prepared the image in his own photo lab. This was a privilege he was allowed because of his status within the photographic community, and because he had complained about the poor quality of Life's photo labs. The alteration violated Life's editorial policy, but there has been little public criticism of Smith for having made the change.

Links and References
• Willumson, Glenn. (1992). W. Eugene Smith and the Photographic Essay. Cambridge University Press: 211-13.


All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.