Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Marked On and Altered Photograph

(Above) Retouched press photo, c. 1920s. Click on image for larger view.

(Above) Penciled in eyebrows, painted lips by Ethel. c.1920s. Click on image for larger view.

(Above) Retouched press photo, c. 1940s. Click on image for larger view.

(Above) What do you do when the faces don’t turn out? Draw them in with a pen. c. 1930s. Click on image for larger view.

(Above) I call this image my “Cy Twombly Snapshot.” Click on image for larger view.

THESE IMAGES, FROM MY COLLECTION OF SNAPSHOTS, WERE SELECTED because they have all been altered by the human hand, in one way or the other. The image just above, the one I call “Cy Twombly” was altered on the negative, hence the white lines. It’s one of the more unusual, abstract images in the Accidental Mysteries collection.

Press photos that have been retouched (like images number 1 and 3 above) and readied for print is a lost art. With the digital age—you won’t see images like these anymore. Re-examined and re-contextualized by our eyes today, they look a bit like contemporary art. Word and image, it’s all the rage!

And you’ve got to love the 4th image, the one of the group of people. Early photoshop!


Maureen said...

The group shot is hysterical. I've seen contact sheets where Marilyn Monroe took lipstick and pinking sheers among other things to the negatives of images she didn't like to keep them from being printed. Didn't work, but interesting.

betina said...

I have some from the beach in the 50's where my grandmother censored people's legs aumentatin the bikinis with a pen, pretty interesting hehe.

Jane Waggoner Deschner said...

I've run across a few where one person's face has been scratched out. Someone obviously didn't like him or her anymore.

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