Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop, a new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, reminds us that yes, we have seen quite a few ‘shops in our time. Tracing the practice through the centuries, the unprecedented collection shows that not only has manipulation been around since the beginning of the recorded image, but many of its methods and motives have remained more or less the same.
Daniel Tohill, age 27, 1908. Mugshot via the New Zealand Police Museum. Tohill was acquitted of stealing a bicycle but found guilty and sentenced to four months hard labor in prison for stealing a fur necklet.
This married father of three had two previous convictions, which included stealing from a railway shed and nabbing two ferrets.
Born in England, Nightingale emigrated to America when he was five and joined the Union Army in 1861 at the age of seventeen. He was promoted to corporal after the Battle of Gettysburg. This picture was taken before he was wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864 and his left arm was partially amputated.
Abraham Lincoln, c. 1860. Thought to be the last beardless portrait of the soon-to-be president, this ambrotype was made for the portrait painter John Brown, who wrote:
There are so many hard lines in his face that it becomes a mask to the inner man. His true character only shines out when in an animated conversation, or when telling an amusing tale…He is said to be a homely man; I do not think so.
A new photograph has surfaced in Amherst that reportedly shows Emily Dickinson in her mid-twenties. Her dress is apparently out of fashion for the time,1859, but that’s in keeping with her personality: “I’m so old fashioned, Darling, that all your friends would stare.”