In this age of easy digital manipulation, people automatically doubt the veracity of photos. But that wasn't always the case. Back in the 1920s—the era of sensational 'yellow journalism'—tabloid newspapers attracted readers with faked photos. The New York Evening Graphic made a sensation with its photomontages, which they called "composographs."
This image was created for the coverage of the Kip Rhinelander divorce trial. A wealthy blueblood sued for divorce, claiming that his wife concealed her Negro blood from him. In the court case, she was asked to strip half naked before the jury. Cameras were banned from the courtroom, so the Graphic ran a composograph, cutting, pasting, and retouching more than 20 separate photos, including a dance hall girl who stood in for the bride.
Did readers actually believe these were real photos taken at actual events, or was the line sufficiently blurred sufficiently between reality and illustration that people believed what they wanted to believe? That's hard to say.
More about the Kiplander trial