We subjectively perceive our visual field with high fidelity, yet peripheral distortions can go unnoticed and peripheral objects can be difficult to identify (crowding). Prior work showed that humans could not discriminate images synthesised to match the responses of a mid-level ventral visual stream model when information was averaged in receptive fields with a scaling of about half their retinal eccentricity. This result implicated ventral visual area V2, approximated ‘Bouma’s Law’ of crowding, and has subsequently been interpreted as a link between crowding zones, receptive field scaling, and our perceptual experience. However, this experiment never assessed natural images. We find that humans can easily discriminate real and model-generated images at V2 scaling, requiring scales at least as small as V1 receptive fields to generate metamers. We speculate that explaining why scenes look as they do may require incorporating segmentation and global organisational constraints in addition to local pooling.