Posts Tagged ‘prephotoshop’

Headless Portraits From the 19th Century

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It’s not easy to remember life before Photoshop. When we do, we think of a world where picture were straightforward, always showing exactly what happened to be in front of the lens when the exposure was taken. But that’s not entirely the case.

Trick photography has been around for centuries, and even though the folks in Victorian times weren’t nearly as concerned with artificially slimming down, they did like to have some photographic fun once in a while. This set of headless photographs from the 19th century is a great example of the kind of ‘fun’ we’re talking about.
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The Cottingley Fairies: A Famous Photo Hoax from 1917

The British Journal of Photography is reporting today that Geoffrey Crawley — the world-renowned photographer who debunked the Cottingley Fairies hoax in the 1980’s — has died. The hoax began in 1917 when two cousins named Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths (aged 16 and 10, respectively) claimed to have discovered fairies and, after borrowing a camera, produced photos to prove it. The controversial photographs captured the world’s attention for decades and even deceived Sir Arthur Conan Doyle before finally being debunked by Crawley in a series of articles published in the early ’80s. In 1983 the cousins admitted that the photos were faked using cardboard cutouts.

It’s interesting seeing how little it took to fool people with photographs in the early days of photography.
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