The good thing about photography is that it apprehends reality exactly. But that’s its limitation, too. So almost as soon as the medium was invented, photographers began tinkering with images — to amuse, flatter and deceive. “Faking It: Manipulating Photography Before Photoshop” illustrates all that and more, with 200 or so photos made from the 1840s through the 1980s.
‘Cat + I’ (1932) Minotaurs, mermaids and other creatures melding human and animal have always fascinated. Italian photographer Wanda Waltz transformed herself into such a hybrid in the above montage, an image both playful and menacing.
‘[Unidentified Man Seated with Three Spirits]’ (1862-75) For mediums like William H. Mumler, photography was a bold new way to show the presence of spirits of the departed. In the 1860s, he produced pictures of ethereal wraiths. Of course, the pictures were fakes: double exposures of living people. Eventually, the ghostbusters got him.
‘Leap into the Void’ (1960) French painter and conceptual artist Yves Klein had himself photographed leaping out a window; the photo was manipulated to delete the men who caught him. The resulting image of Klein’s suicidal plunge graced the front page of his own single-issue newspaper. Mark Jenkins (for express)
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