When Did It Start? Faking photos in the 1800’s

November 3, 2009

The ending of the last post made me think of the future of photo journalism, and the integrity of the industry. However before the fate can be determined, one should ask oneself  how long has this been going on?

It turns out that one of the oldest and strangest doctoring of photos is the photographic genre, Spirit Photography.

Spirit photography is a type of photography whose primary attempt is to capture images of spiritual entities.[1] It was first used by William H. Mumler in the 1860s.[1] Mumler discovered the technique by accident, after he discovered a second person in a photograph he took of himself, which he found was actually a double exposure. Seeing there was a market for it, Mumler started working as a medium, taking people’s pictures and doctoring the negatives to add lost loved ones into them (mostly using other photographs as basis). Mumler’s fraud was discovered after he put identifiable living Boston residents in the photos as spirits. ”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirit_photography 03/11/09

The photo below shows the picture that made Mumler start his fraudulant activity.The First Discovery of Spirit Photography

The altering of photos might have started with ghosts and spirits but the fact remains that dishonesty lead this genre and progressed it to cause further harm.

The Obama and McCain campaigns used trickery to fool viewers which in turn could change important moments in history which demands the question, has this happened before?


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