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The Ghost in the Stereoscope: Faking it before Photoshop

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FAKING It – “Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop”runs at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art October 11, 2012–January 27, 2013:

While Photoshop and other digital editing programs have brought about an increased awareness of the degree to which photographs can be manipulated, photographers—including such major artists as Gustave Le Gray, Henry Peach Robinson, Edward Steichen, and John Baldessari—have been fabricating, modifying, and otherwise manipulating camera images since the medium was first invented.

Our favourite is an image called The Ghost in the Stereoscope:

Founded in 1854, the London Stereoscopic and Photographic Company was a major publisher of stereographs-cards with two nearly identical photographs mounted side by side that can be viewed through a binocular device to create an illusion of depth. The firm’s output was colossal; their 1858 catalogue listed more than one hundred thousand views. While the majority of these were landscapes or architectural views, there was also a thriving market for staged historical, sentimental, or comic tableaux, which were often hand-colored to enhance their dramatic impact. Among the most popular themes were courtship, marriage, unrequited love, bereavement, children sleeping or praying, fairy tales, fortune telling, and supernatural scenes involving ghosts or spirits.