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January 6, 2021

Before the Photoshop Era, Here Are What Manipulated Photos Looked Like in the Early 20th Century

Photo manipulation dates back to some of the earliest photographs captured on glass and tin plates during the 19th century. The practice began not long after the creation of the first photograph (1825) by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce who developed heliography and made the first photographic print from a photoengraved printing plate.

Manipulated photos from the early 20th century


Traditional photographic prints can be altered using various methods and techniques that involve manipulation directly to the print, such as retouching with ink, paint, airbrushing, or scratching Polaroids during developing (Polaroid art).

So what did manipulated photos look like in the early 20th century? Just check out these fascinating photos from Rick Soloway to see.

“Pumpkins grown in Iowa soil are profitable”

“When we go after something in Colorado, we got it”    

“Zeppelin flying over Cosmopolitan Studios, N.Y. 1927” is noted on back

A New Farm Hand

An Early Bi-Plane in Flight

Bobby Leach and his barrel

County Fair Corn Contest

Garden City, Iowa

Hauling Pineapples, Honolulu

Lobsters and Lady

Man Eating Bass

May the Best Man Win

Rocky Mountain Rack Jabbit

The Train Hold-Up

Two Wise Old Birds

West Texas Jackrabbit




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