Fake photography, or fauxtography, has been around since the invention of cameras and nature is one of the most popular subjects of dishonest photographers. From the mythical Loch Ness to the cheesy frogs using a leaf as umbrella, these images have been published in newspapers and spread virally on the web creating a fake perception of nature in the mind of millions around the world.
These bogus creations go beyond using photo manipulation softwares, common techniques involve staging scenes with unusual pets in unnatural positions or luring wildlife with food to achieve the desired effects. This apparently harmless activity can have serious effects on the subjects, as experts have pointed, the animals show signs of distress in many of these photos.
In addition to the distress caused to the subject, there’s the false image promoted by these pictures, especially when they go viral. Websites, such as Snopes, post various sections dedicated to this phenomenon and specialized webpages and facebook groups have flourished with the purpose of debunking this kind of images and promoting a scientific understanding of nature unbiased by emotional staging. As the site Truths About Fake Nature Photography puts it: "nature is already so intriguing and beautiful on its own, that staging such unnatural scenes is an insult to mother nature herself".
But the charm of these cute images is so strong to beat their falsehood, in 2014 the Sony World Photography Awards shortlisted one of these now cliché photos of a frog riding a beetle. Real or not, nature definitely sells.
Source: The Verge