Faking It: Manipulated Photography in the Time Before Photoshop

As a blogger, I am well used to coming across computer generated images of new devices, including both fakes invented by tricksters as well as less than honest images released by marketing departments. Being on guard against fake images is a hazard of covering the news, and if a recent art exhibit is any indication, this is quite an old hazard.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is currently featuring an exhibit called Faking It. This is a collection of manipulated photographs from long before the time of Adobe Photoshop.

Some of these photos date back over a century, and in fact early photography technology actually forced some pioneers to invent these kind of tricks. The first couple generations of photographic plates weren’t able to take complex images like a landscape which showed land and sky, leading one early photographer to take several photos and develop a technique which combined them.

If you cannot make it to NYC, you can also see part of the exhibit on your iPad. MoMA has released a free iPad app which shows before and after shots for a number of manipulated photos.

Here’s an intro video to wet your appetite:
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Faking It