With fancy software like Adobe Photoshop and many others, today we take the art of photo manipulation and retouching almost for granted. Many people also have the mistaken belief that photo manipulation is new and is connected to the spread coming and spread of computer technology. Let us break that myth today. While photo manipulation has definitely spread with the advent of software like Adobe Photoshop, it is as old as photography itself. Of course, photo manipulation before Photoshop days was limited by technology and required various tools and an extremely steady hand instead of a few clicks of a mouse.
Gene Gable of CreativePro had stumbled across a book from 1946 called Shortcuts to Photo Retouching For Commercial Use which lays bare the techniques used in those days for manipulating photos. It shows that pretty basic tools like paint brush, glue, scales, rubber rollers, colors etc. were used to manipulate a photo.
The book starts with the basics. Like how to crop a photo and what ‘Halftone’ is. Those days scaling a photo was a pure mathematical exercise and was not meant for everyone. The attention to detail that was given those days were just mind boggling. But how were the results? Here are some examples.
Photo manipulation before Photoshop: Some examples
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