Synopses & Reviews
Photographic manipulation is a familiar phenomenon in the digital era. What will come as a revelation to readers of this captivating, wide-ranging book is that nearly every type of manipulation we associate with Adobeandrsquo;s now-ubiquitous Photoshop software was also part of photographyandrsquo;s predigital repertoire, from slimming waistlines and smoothing away wrinkles to adding people to (or removing them from) pictures, not to mention fabricating events that never took place. Indeed, the desire and determination to modify the camera image are as old as photography itselfandmdash;only the methods have changed.
By tracing the history of manipulated photography from the earliest days of the medium to the release of Photoshop 1.0 in 1990, Mia Fineman offers a corrective to the dominant narrative of photographyandrsquo;s development, in which champions of photographic andldquo;purity,andrdquo; such as Paul Strand, Edward Weston, and Henri Cartier-Bresson, get all the glory, while devotees of manipulation, including Henry Peach Robinson, Edward Steichen, and John Heartfield, are treated as conspicuous anomalies. Among the techniques discussed on these pagesandmdash;abundantly illustrated with works from an international array of public and private collectionsandmdash;are multiple exposure, combination printing, photomontage, composite portraiture, over-painting, hand coloring, and retouching. The resulting images are as diverse in style and motivation as they are in technique. Taking her argument beyond fine art into the realms of politics, journalism, fashion, entertainment, and advertising, Fineman demonstrates that the old adage andldquo;the camera does not lieandrdquo; is one of photographyandrsquo;s great fictions.
“Brilliant, exhaustive…extraordinary.”—BOMB BOMB
andldquo;As andlsquo;Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshopandrsquo;andmdash;curator Mia Finemanandrsquo;s illuminating book ...shows us, the habit of aggressively adjusting photographs is actually an activity dating back to photographyandrsquo;s earliest days, and one that exposes a central question about the truth or artifice of the medium.andrdquo;andmdash;The Boston Globe
andldquo;Each chapter, as well as the andldquo;Discussions of Individual Works,andrdquo; yields pleasures and erudition andhellip; this finely curated collection is an unequivocal delight.andrdquo;andmdash;Publishers Weeklyand#160;
andldquo;[O]ne of the most interesting, liveliest art history books Iandrsquo;ve read this year.andrdquo;andmdash;Tyler Green,and#160;Modern Art Notesand#160;podcastand#160;
Named a best book of 2012andmdash;Modern Art Notes
and#8220;Finemanand#8230;presents a most extensive and articulate survey of the myriad ways that photographers have created manipulated photographs over the past 170-odd years. Illustrated with 276 well-reproduced examples of work ranging from the vernacular to the deliberately aesthetic, this well-written book has a good bibliography and a glossary of technical termsand#8230;Recommended.and#8221;and#8212;Choice
Long listed for the 2013 Kraszna-Krausz Book Awards in the Best Photography Book category.
An illuminating investigation of photographic manipulation, from the earliest years of the medium to 1990, which explores the techniques and motives behind the altered images
It is a long-held truism that "the camera does not lie." Yet, as Mia Fineman argues in this illuminating volume, that statement contains its own share of untruth. While modern technological innovations, such as Adobe's Photoshop software, have accustomed viewers to more obvious levels of image manipulation, the practice of "doctoring" photographs has in fact existed since the medium was invented.
In Faking It, Fineman demonstrates that today's digitally manipulated images are part of a continuum that begins with the earliest years of photography, encompassing methods as diverse as overpainting, multiple exposure, negative retouching, combination printing, and photomontage. Among the book's revelations are previously unknown and never before published images that document the acts of manipulation behind two canonical works of modern photography: one blatantly fantastical (Yves Klein's Leap into the Void of 1960); the other a purportedly unadulterated record of a real place in time (Paul Strand's City Hall Park of 1915).
Featuring 160 captivating pictures created between the 1840s and 1990s in the service of art, politics, news, entertainment, and commerce, Faking It provides an essential counterhistory of photography as an inspired blend of fabricated truths and artful falsehoods.
About the Author
Mia Fineman is Assistant Curator in the Department of Photographs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. She has been a regular contributor to the New York Times, Slate, the Village Voice, and numerous other publications.