The Unreal World

Our modern world is full of simulations, from synthesized human voices to realistic security drills, representational art to CGI-filled blockbuster movies. Gathered below is a collection of images of things that are real, but not quite real—mockups, practice drills, lifelike works of art, simulators, puppets, models, prototypes, automatons, and more.

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  • Marcos Reategui / Getty

    Photos: An Oil Spill Causes an Environmental Emergency in Peru

    An oil tanker spilled thousands of barrels of oil into the ocean along the coastline of Peru.

  • Irene Stachon / Lehtikuva / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Wolf Moon, Snow Maze, Burning Barrel

    A murmuration of starlings over Rome, cosplay in a California desert, basking capybaras in Venezuela, ice climbing in Turkey, a violent volcanic eruption in the Tongan archipelago, and much more

  • Daniel Ochoa de Olza / AP

    Hurling Turnips at the Jarramplas

    Every January, the streets of Piornal, Spain, fill with residents armed with turnips, seeking to punish the devil-like Jarramplas.

  • © Hannah Le Leu / Ocean Art

    Winners of the 2021 Ocean Art Underwater Photo Contest

    Some of the top images from the 13 categories of underwater photography in this year’s competition