Saturday, July 30, 2016

Photo Retouching Before Photoshop

Photo retouching has been around almost as long as photography and originally took place on the negative. It began in 1841 when William Henry Fox Talbot patented the calotype—the first practical photographic process to create a negative that could generate multiple copies. In 1846 Talbot’s colleague Calvert Richard Jones was dissatisfied with a photograph he'd taken of five Capuchin friars on a rooftop in Malta. The fifth friar was awkwardly placed so Jones blotted him out on the paper negative using some India ink.

The practice of touching up flaws became commonplace but was sometimes frowned upon. One writer in an 1890 issue of Photographic Mosaics commented on the ethics of retouching: “Over-retouching is one of the flagrant faults of modern photographers. It was very wrong in you to touch out all the character in the face of your otherwise fine ‘old sea-captain.’”
Neck retouching. Image credit: Complete self-instructing library
of practical photography via Archive.org // Public Domain

Read more about photo retouching here.
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