During today’s Visual Communications class we examined photo manipulation and its place in publications. Many of us would expect that the manipulation of photos was a fairly recent development, but in fact one of the first known obvious manipulations was this photograph (on the left) of Abraham Lincoln from 1860. The head of Lincoln was taken from another image (on the right), flipped horizontally and placed onto the body of John Calhoun, a political figure from the opposing party, thus creating a strong and powerful image.

We looked at some of the techniques which are commonly used in photo manipulation, i.e., cloning and healing, montage, dodge & burn or colour correction. The signs we can look for when spotting these are: differences in lighting, differences in perspective, halos and pixellated edges, inconsistencies in comparative content and glitches.

We took all of this information and applied it to a manipulated image we found on the web. The image I chose was that of Hosni Mubarak, Barack Obama and three other world leaders at the Middle East peace talks event in 2010. You can see my comparison piece in my blog post Photo Manipulation – Photoshopped Presidents. I found what we looked at interesting and informative. As a photographer I often wonder where the line is when manipulating one of my own photos. I want to stay faithful to what I saw, but make it a pleasing image for the viewer. Should I have to manipulate my images in the future, I will endeavour to make a good job of it.