I recently came across this photograph which looks extraordinarily suspect:

enter image description here

Can the Photo.SE community determine if it is fake? I've played with the Gamma, Brightness, and other levels but cannot find conclusive artifacts. If the image is determined to be doctored, what specific signs give it away?

Note that the Photo.SE question for the general case of determining if a photo is real or faked has a comment by a high-rep user inviting one to post suspect photos as new questions.

I suspect that this image may be faked because: As fun as Pareidolia is, in this particular case there is no suggestion of a face but rather a very accurate rendition of a dog. The sizes, perspective, and even the shading of the wood suggest a dog. It is true that the wood may have been altered and not the digital image, however, that might account for the shading but not the knots in the wood.

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    What if the wood was doctored before the photo was taken? The wood might be fake but the photo unaltered – laurencemadill Feb 10 '17 at 19:21
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    What looks suspect here to you? I see a piece of wood with some knot holes, – ths Feb 10 '17 at 19:22
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    Why would anyone need to fake this ? And I don't see anything extraordinary about this in any sense. – StephenG Feb 10 '17 at 20:02
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    Well... Since I don't have nor have I ever personally seen or experienced a piece of wood like that it obviously can't exist and thus just has to be faked. Right? – Michael C Feb 10 '17 at 20:13
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    How is a "very accurate rendition of a dog" (or more accurately, a dog's face) not pareidolia? – scottbb Feb 11 '17 at 3:11

Too much information has been removed from the image presented to us for anyone to perform an analysis.

From whatever original, doctored or otherwise, it has simply been mashed by repeated resaves using poor quality jpeg options, edits (to add the text and resizing), and the size has been significantly reduced.

The image does not contain any obvious edits that indicate the image has been falsified and the placement of the features seems plausible but unlikely (which is why the image was shared) that is all we can tell you with any certainty.

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  • Thank you James. Sometimes the answer is simply "we don't know". At least you provide a nice list of things to do to hide the fact that an image has been altered! – dotancohen Feb 11 '17 at 11:40

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