Before there was Photoshop

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*Black&White, *Der Kampf, *Editorial, *Photography, Sin categoría

Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop

With images and graphics being created, edited and retouched time and time again via Photoshop, do you even have an idea how tedious this way  is? I have spent these days in the darkroom in order to take advantage of it as they decided to cease with their activity…

You will never hear me say that the Good Ol’ ways were actually better or more authentic, of course this is nonsense every artistic movement needed to break the academic standards in order to define itself to progress as a different form.

You will hear me saying thats more fun and that it will join you in a more satisfactory way to your own work (Human error is obviously much more prevalent this way). But never a tool will be better than another sure there will always be trends so its up to you to enjoy whatever you do.

How to Manipulate an Image before there was Photoshop

One of my favorite artists who manually blended negatives to produce dreamlike sequences in the 1960s was Jerry Uelsmann although he revolutionized the art of photography by manually blending negatives to produce dreamlike landscapes he was not the first one almost as soon as the science of photography was perfected for use by the general public, artists and others began to manipulate the images. Beginning with daguerrotypes, photographers used double exposures to create humorous effects.

Photo manipulation was soon employed in numerous ways, as early photography had several limitations. Correct exposures in landscape photography often led to the sky being overexposed, for example. To circumnavigate this, photographers combined two images, each section with the correct exposure. (This technique is older than Photoshop)

“Spirit” photography used multiple exposures to depict the medium or subject with ghostly presences in the same image. Oscar Gustave Rejlander was a pioneering Victorian art photographer and an expert in photomontage.

Photo manipulation could illustrate concepts, such as the proposal to allow airships to dock at the top of the Empire State building. Henry Peach Robinson was an English pictorialist photographer best known for his pioneering combination printing – joining multiple negatives or prints to form one image.

The advertising industry used it to improve the appearance of products.

The artistic community also took up photo manipulation, for instance, with the creation of narrative images. Later it was adopted by the constructivist movement in Russia in the 1920s, and then again by the surrealists.

Today the photographic medium is digital, and photo manipulation is easily within the reach of everyone through software like Photoshop. Prior to 1985 it was not so simple. Photographs were retouched by hand using paint or ink, pieced together in the darkroom from separate photographs. Airbrushing as a term is still in use today, though the technique originated much earlier.

All these required a degree of artistic skill and, for some, access to a darkroom… One month for four pages… not bad…

Escrito por

Founder of Lichtbild & Head of his own strange world / Vintage Enthusiast / Photographer / Graphic Designer /Typography "lover" / Book Collector / Spanish+German Mix / Lives in Coruña / Sometimes heads back home & Sleeps. /*

5 thoughts on “Before there was Photoshop”

  1. Thanks for posting, informative and thought-provoking. Many people seem to think photo manipulation is a recent phenomenon, but as you highlight it’s been with us a long time.

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  2. Pingback: Sci-fi | Lichtbild


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