Faking It: Manipulating Photography Before Photoshop

by Krystal Yee, Fashion Publishing

Let’s face it, trekking all the way to the Upper East Side looks easy on Gossip Girl, but in real life no one has time to picnic on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, much less actually go in and look at the art. This Fall, get off your butt and take advantage of the culture right outside your door by seeing the Met’s new exhibit, Faking It: Manipulating Photography Before Photoshop. You’ll find that the predecessors of airbrushing were not only much more creative than today’s illusionists, but also had an amazing sense of humor.

The exhibit shows the techniques that were used to compensate for the limitations of the craft at the time. Without Photoshop, these pioneering photographers found creative ways to trick the eye by fusing two or more photographs together. While nowadays it is not incredibly innovative to add your friend into a picture he or she was not there to be a part of, these ingenious minds found a way to do so without the help of a computer. Just a taste of what you’ll see is before and after shots of a 1950s Vogue cover, Richard Avedon’s photos of Audrey Hepburn, and beautiful landscapes. Some were quite modern in thinking and execution, while others were nothing short of a photograph taken in a theme park cardboard cut–out. Either way, you don’t want to miss out on the headless soldier, even if you can’t put your head in for a photo-op. This exhibit will be running until January 27, 2013 alongside After Photoshop: Manipulating Photography. Take the train past Times Square to no man’s land. I promise you, it’ll be worth it.