Fact Check

Is This a Whale in a Venice Canal?

A photograph purportedly showing a large whale swimming through a canal in Venice was digitally manipulated.

Published July 24, 2017

A photograph shows a large whale swimming through a canal in Venice.

Venice, Italy, a city built on more than 100 little islands, is famed for its canals and bridges. A set of photographs purportedly showing large whales swimming through those canals are frequently circulated on social media:

All three of these images were created by Robert Jahns (Instagram user Nois 7) who has garnered a large following for his photo manipulations. (We previously covered his doctored image that appeared showed a massive waterslide in Dubai.)

Although Jahns first shared these images with simple captions such as "whale in Venice," his later posts acknowledged that they were "artworks."

Jahns told CityLab in 2014:

"When I started my Instagram account 2 years ago I saw that many artists had success. I wanted that many people [to] see my work and I wanted to inspire them and exalt their imagination. That's what I am able to do nowadays, it's a passion."


Ray, Michael.   "Grand Canal."     Encyclopedia Britannica.   Retrieved 24 July 2017.

Metcalfe, John.   "Tremble at These Surreal, Sky-High Urban Roller Coasters."     City Lab.   9 April 2014.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.