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Amazing pre-Photoshop manipulations

In this new age of photography the internet is like a digital mirror to the world, reflecting back to us distorted versions ourselves in Instagram hues. While Photoshop and other software has drastically changed the way we look at the modern human body – mostly with a raised eyebrow – the act of photographic doctoring is as old as the medium itself. As dark room techniques are phased out, it’s worth looking back through time to see the amazing manipulations that took place over a century ago. An exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York entitled Faking it: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop, showcases 200 masterfully altered, pre-digital pieces.


Saint Thomas D’Aquin
Man Juggling His Own Head
De Torbéchet, Allain & C.
ca. 1880
Albumen silver print.
Collection of Christophe Goeury
Photo Courtesy: The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Unknown Artist, American School
Man on Rooftop with Eleven Men in Formation on His Shoulders
ca. 1930
Gelatin silver print
Collection of George Eastman House
Photo Courtesy: The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Grete Stern
Sueño No. 1: “Articulos eléctricos para el hogar” | Dream No. 1: “Electrical Appliances for the Home”
ca. 1950
Gelatin silver print
Twentieth-Century Photography Fund, 2012
Courtesy of Galería Jorge Mara – La Ruche, Buenos Aires


Unknown Artist, German School
A Powerful Collision
1910s Gelatin silver print The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Funds from various donors, 2010
Photo Courtesy: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Says MMA: “The photographs in the exhibition were altered using a variety of techniques, including multiple exposure (taking two or more pictures on a single negative), combination printing (producing a single print from elements of two or more negatives), photomontage, overpainting, and retouching on the negative or print. In every case, the meaning and content of the camera image was significantly transformed in the process of manipulation.”


Maurice Guibert (French, 1856–1913)
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, Albi 1864–1901 Saint-André-du-Bois)
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec as Artist and Model
1892
Gelatin silver print
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gift of Henry P. Mcllhenny, 1982-14-2
Photo Courtesy: The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Unknown Artist, American
Two-Headed Man
ca. 1855
Daguerreotype
Nelson-Atkins Museum
Photo Courtesy: The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Unknown Artist, American
Dirigible Docked on Empire State Building, New York
1930
Gelatin silver print
Twentieth-Century Photography Fund, 2011
Photo Courtesy: The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Maurice Tabard (French, Lyons 1897–1984 Nice)
Roger Parry (French, 1905–1977)
Room with Eye
1930
Gelatin silver print
The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1962
Photo Courtesy: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The exhibition runs until January 27, 2013.

Info and Pics from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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