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20 best photo manipulations before Photoshop
If you think that Photoshop has changed everything, maybe you need to be  introduced to the masters of the darkroom. Before the digital era, skilled photographers did dodge and burn like we do it now digitally, they did combine several negative plates in order to make a new photograph, they did airbrush, literally, to paint or ink over retouched areas, they did mask, they did erase unwanted objects or shapes, they scratched, they painted and drew over the photographs to add details to overexposed areas for example. Photo manipulation has existed nearly since the invention of photography, earlier examples being from the Victorian era. Spirit photography, fantastic creepy photography, people with their heads off,  were all the rage back then. Then surrealists and the dada movement used photomanipulation a lot. Propaganda used it a lot too and some dictators erased people they didn’t like from the pictures for example. Then advertising and fashion photography needed this art from the early stage.

So, take a tour.. here are 20 photos, altered or manipulated before the digital era and the widespread use of Photoshop.


Hippolyte Bayard – Self Portrait as a Drowned Man 1840


Unknown - Victorian head off photography

Unknown – Victorian head off photography


Oscar Gustave Rejlander – Two Ways of Life 1857

victorian spirit photography

Unknown – Victorian spirit photography

Fading_Away Robinson

Henry Peach Robinson – Fading Away 1858

maurice-guilbert_henri-de-toulouse-lautrec 1892

Maurice Guibert – Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec as Artist and Model 1892

Camille Silvy River Scene 1858

Camille Silvy – River Scene 1858

Henry_Peach_Robinson When_the_Day's_Work_is_Done

Henry Peach Robinson – When Day’s Work is Done 1877

Edouard Baldus Cloitre st Trophime, Arles 1861

Edouard Baldus – Cloitre St Trophime, Arles 1861

Edward J Steichen The Pond Moonrise 1904

Edward J. Steichen – The Pond, Moonrise 1904

ingre-s-violin man ray 1924

Man Ray – Ingre’s Violin 1924

Howard S Redell Woman in Champagne Glass 1930

Howard S. Redell – Woman in Champagne Glass 1930

George Platt Lynes The Sleepwalker 1935

George Platt Lynes – The Sleepwalker 1935

edmund teske

Edmund Teske – Madison Grammar School Demolition 1937

ClarenceJohnLaughlin Elegy for Moss Land

Clarence John Laughlin – Elegy for Moss Land 1947

Grete Stern 1948-Sin-titulo_jpg

Grete Stern – Untitled 1948


Jerry Uelsmann – Untitled 1969

Zuzanka's Night Window, 1979, by Jan Saudek

Jan Saudek – Zuzanka’s Night Window 1979

Tsunehisa Kumura 1979

Tsunehisa Kumura – Untitled 1979


Jerry Uelsmann – Untitled 1982