In today’s digital age one could forgive the question, “How did photographers live without Photoshop?”
Io + gatto (Wanda Wulz) Italian, 1903-1984, (Cat + I), 1932, Gelatin silver print, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ford Motor Company Collection, Gift of Ford Motor Company and John C. Waddell, 1987 1987.1100.123 Alinari/Art Resource © Wanda Wulz
The answer is that they did pretty well, using inventive techniques such as 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 the negative or print.
Faking It: Manipulated Photography before Photoshop, at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, is a new exhibit of manipulated images created between the 1840s and 1990s, before the advent of digital technologies.
It so happens the exhibition is made possible by Adobe, the makers of Photoshop.
Man Juggling His Own Head (Unidentified artist) ca. 1880, Albumen silver print from glass negative. Collection of Christophe Goeury
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec as Artist and Model (Maurice Guibert) French, 1856-1913, ca. 1900
Gelatin silver print Philadelphia Museum of Art
A Powerful Collision (Unidentified German artist) 1914, Gelatin silver print, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Twentieth-century Photography Fund, 2010 2010.296,193
The Sleepwalker (George Platt Lynes) American, 1907-1955, 1935, Gelatin silver print with applied media, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ford Motor Company Collection, Gift of Ford Motor Company and John C. Waddell, 1987
1987.1100.9 © The Estate of George Platt Lynes
The Corporal Is Leading Germany into a Catastrophe (Alexander Zhitomirsky) Russian, 1907-1993, 1941, Gelatin silver print Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco
Red Stripe Kitchen (Martha Rosler) American, born 1943, from the series “House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home” 1967-72, printed early 1990s, Chromogenic print, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Anonymous Gift, 2002 2002.393 © Martha Rosler
Hearst over the People (Barbara Morgan) American, 1900-1992, 1939, Collage of gelatin silver prints with applied media, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, Gift of Hallmark Cards, Inc.
Dirigible Docked on Empire State Building (Unidentified American artist) New York, 1930, Gelatin silver print, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Twentieth-Century Photography Fund, 2011 2011.189
Man on Rooftop with Eleven Men in Formation on His Shoulders (Unidentified American artist) ca. 1930, Gelatin silver print, Collection of George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film, Rochester
Untitled (Jerry N. Uelsmann) American, born 1934, 1969, Gelatin silver print, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Twentieth-Century Photography Fund, 2011 2011.407
© Jerry N. Uelsmann
Leap into the Void, Yves Klein, French, 1928-1962, Photographed by Harry Shunk (German, 1924-2006) and János (Jean) Kender (Hungarian, 1937-2009) 1960, Gelatin silver print Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1992 (1992.5112) © Yves Klein / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris Photograph Shunk-Kender © Roy Lichtenstein Foundation
Follow the Queen (Frank Majore) American, born 1948, 1987, Silver dye bleach print, Collection of the artist © Frank Majorie
Faking It: Manipulated Photography before Photoshop runs through Jan. 27, 2013.