The approximately 200 photos taken between the 1840’s and 1990’s. in the exhibition have all been manipulated with different techniques. Multiple exposures from negatives, combination printing, photomontage, overpainting, and retouching are all represented.
The exhibition is divided into seven sections, Picture Perfect, Artifice in the Name of Art, Politics and Persuasion, Novelties and Amusements, Pictures in Print, Mind’s Eye, and Protoshop. Some of the artists included are favorites of all of us: Gustave Le Gray, Carleton E. Watkins, Edward Steichen, F. Holland Day, Maurice Tabard, Dora Maar, John Bladessari, Duane Michals.
I am always amazed when I think of the endless hours photographers (including myself) use to spend to manipulate our images. Now contemporary software programs are so sophisticated, we achieve them within a couple of computer clicks. I urge the young photographers out there who have never worked in a darkroom to visit this exhibit and see where your photo ancestry comes from.
A fully illustrated hard cover catalog is available through the MET’s bookstore for $60.