PHYLLIS ODESSEY

Photoshop BEFORE Photoshop

FAKING IT
Manipulated Photography
Before Photoshop

1840s-1990s
Met Museum
October 11, 2012 – January 27, 2013

“Anything you can do,
I can do better
I can do anything
Better than you
…”

“Anything You Can Do…I can do better”  was the song that came into my head,  as I walked around Faking It. There are over 200 photographs in the exhibition, created prior to 1990. The cut off year 1990 relates to the year  Adobe Photoshop 1.0 was distributed.  Whether adding clouds, removing mountains, turning black and white into color or transforming a single portrait into a group shot, these photographs enhance, change or distort reality.

The exhibition is demanding.  I prefer to look not read when I go to a show, but this is one case where the text adds to the enjoyment and understanding of the visual.  The text explains the technique used to create the illusion.  A man seemingly flies out of a window, but the reality is a group of individuals are waiting under the window to catch him.  The show is full of these “before”and “after”.

A viewer of this photograph, exclaimed, “How did you ever get all these individuals together?”  We know better.  I am a guilt-free user of Photoshop.  I tread  lightly with the “truth”.   These photographers threw down the gauntlet and Photoshop answered.  

The camera never lies was always fiction. I accept not knowing whether the sky is really that blue, a face is devoid of wrinkles, a garden so green.  It’s the new normal, as desirable as the new iPhone.


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