[Pics] Manipulated Photos Of Notable Historic Figures Before The Digital Era (Before And After Images)

[Pics] Manipulated Photos Of Notable Historic Figures Before The Digital Era (Before And After Images)

Manipulating photos happened way before Photoshop was around. This series shows before and afters of famous and notable figures before the digital era began. Truly fascinating, you can't help but wonder what level of dedication it took to make these happen.  

The process used was not only clever darkroom techniques but also stitching various images together to create the after shots you see. Though, I am certain there's more to it and it's much harder than it sounds. Many of these are hard to do even in the digital era with Photoshop!


A photo of President Lincoln's head was placed on the image of Southern politician John Calhoun to create the portrait on the left.


Adolf Hitler had Joseph Goebbels (second from the right) removed from the original photograph after a falling out.


Perhaps in an attempt to not have his presence dwarfed, Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King had King George VI removed from the original photograph of him and Queen Elizabeth.


The horse handler was removed from this portrait of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini to appear more heroic.


Russian magazine Ogoniok had the watch removed from a WWII soldier's arm as to avoid accusations it may have been stolen (as he is wearing another watch on left wrist as well).


The photograph of Ulysses S. Grant on the left is actually a composite of these three different photographs pieced together.


General Francis P. Blair (on the far right end) was added to this Matthew Brady photograph at a later date.


Like Hitler, Russian dictator Josef Stalin had a commissar removed from the original photograph after a falling out.


[Via Yahoo! News]


From Pratik:

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Wow. With the tech they had back then I'd say they did an incredible job manipulating images. 

Original light is the best technology.  The pixels we use today hide the stitches that would always show in the doctored photos.

Noam Galai's picture

amazing set

David Martin's picture

Being pedantic, the one containing (or not containing) King George VI has Queen Elizabeth the King's consort, not the current Queen Elizabeth II..

Ya this is incredible! Maybe they hired some excellent painters to remove / add stuff? Then they took another photo?

Having another photo of the location is best, but often yes, they'd need a painter's skill to reconstruct a negative to then blend into the area.  Dodging, burning, sponging, cut and paste - all these terms come from the prior era of photos.

Michael Kormos's picture

These are great.  I recall reading somewhere that Stalin would often make people (who opposed him) in high government positions disappear, and then proceed to erase them from every photo they appeared in.  It usually involved making a large print from the negative, then having artists paint the person out.  A copy of the print would then be made, and distributed.  

i bet they used content aware fill..

At least they didn't have to worry too much about the balacing the color...

Mark E.'s picture

Now if we could just find the publications from each of these eras entitled "Clients From Hell"...

Robert Johnston's picture

It was a lot easier than most think.  Ive been involved in photography for 74 years, and did a bit myself.  Just made a print of each photo.  Using a single edge razor blade, cut out the figure to be placed in the photo.  Placed it over the position, cut out the underlying portion.  Put the new image in the print. (attaching it with photo mounting wax paper)  Retouched the area around the cut portion with dyes and made a copy of the entire image. Usually with a 4x5 or 8x19 negative.  Then at times did some retouching on the negative if necessary.  The main difference today, is that it takes a lot less time to do the job in Photoshop.  What might have taken hours then, can do in minutes today.