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Photo manipulation before Photoshop [10 pictures]

Aug 16, 2012 By Abraham

When a picture online is suspected of being faked in some way, we’ll often see a chorus of commenters chiming in with “Photoshop.” And sometimes just “Shopped!” from the excitable word-clippers among us.

But the practice of doctoring pictures has been going on much longer than Photoshop has been around. In the description of a new exhibit of vintage manipulated photos at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, they write…

While Photoshop and other digital editing programs have brought about an increased awareness of the degree to which photographs can be manipulated, photographers…have been fabricating, modifying, and otherwise manipulating camera images since the medium was first invented.

Here are some examples…

Two-Headed Man: Unknown Artist, American ca. 1855 Daguerreotype 

Dream No. 1: ‘Electrical Appliances for the Home’ by Grete Stern ca. 1950 Gelatin silver print

Man Juggling His Own Head: De Torbéchet, Allain & C. ca. 1880 by Saint Thomas D’Aquin Albumen silver print

Hearst Over The People: 1939 by Barbara Morgan

Room with Eye: 1930 by Maurice Tabard and Roger Parry Gelatin silver print

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec as Artist and Model: 1892 by Maurice Guibert Gelatin silver print

Man on Rooftop with Eleven Men in Formation on His Shoulders: Unknown Artist, American ca. 1930 Gelatin silver print

Dirigible Docked on Empire State Building: Unknown Artist, American 1930 Gelatin silver print

Aberdeen Portraits No. 1: 1857 by George Washington Wilson Albumen print from glass negative

A Powerful Collision: Unknown Artist, German School 1910s Gelatin silver print

(via The Daily Mail)


  1. Melissa says:

    I seriously want prints of some of these. Especially the man juggling his own head one and the dirigible one. I love old-school weirdness. lol

  2. Evan says:

    Um, the Empire State Building was designed to have airships dock at its spire…So it is a lot more realistic than it might seem.

  3. Sheila A. Donovan says:

    That “Room With An Eye” was very foretelling. Now you can hardly go anywhere without a camera watching you.

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