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How to Find Images & How to Use Them: Fake or Misleading Images

An introduction to searching for images and using them
Which are these images are fake?

Answer: Both!

  • The Rembrandt-like painting on the left is an algorithmically-constructed portrait based on known, authenticated works by Rembrandt.
    • How can you know? You would have to try to find this portrait in a catalog or website of authentic paintings. (Or just see the video below.)
  • The photograph in the center was taken at a Houston school in 2002. Did President Bush really hold his book upside down?
    • How can you know? Compare Bush's book with the girl's --the jacket image on the right-hand side of Bush's book has been flipped in the wrong direction --the blue spot on the girls book is far from the spine; in Bush's it is next to the spine.  (Or see this fact-check on

Faked images are a real problem --and not just a stunt.  They can have implications from political to cultural to personal. But how can you tell what's genuine and what isn't?

Reverse Image Searches

You can research an image online by doing a reverse image search: enter the image, and see where it is used and on which date. Use these three search engines:

Ways to Spot Fake or Misleading Images