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Faking It: Manipulated Photography before Photoshop

Item# 80-016081 

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  • Publisher: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Pages: 296
  • Illustrations: 249 in full color
  • Dimensions: 9 1/2'' x 10 1/2''
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Authors:
  • Awards: Named one of Modern Art Notes' Best Books of 2012 and to Amazon's 2012 list of Books of the Year in the Art and Photography category
  • ISBN: 9780300185010



By Mia Fineman

It is a long-held truism that "the camera does not lie." Yet, as Mia Fineman argues in this illuminating volume, that statement contains its own share of untruth. While modern technological innovations, such as Adobe's Photoshop software, have accustomed viewers to more obvious levels of image manipulation, the practice of "doctoring" photographs has in fact existed since the medium was invented.

In Faking It, Fineman demonstrates that today's digitally manipulated images are part of a continuum that begins with the earliest years of photography, encompassing methods as diverse as overpainting, multiple exposure, negative retouching, combination printing, and photomontage. Among the book's revelations are previously unknown and never before published images that document the acts of manipulation behind two canonical works of modern photography: one blatantly fantastical (Yves Klein's Leap into the Void of 1960); the other a purportedly unadulterated record of a real place in time (Paul Strand's City Hall Park of 1915).

Featuring 160 captivating pictures created between the 1840s and 1990s in the service of art, politics, news, entertainment, and commerce, Faking It provides an essential counterhistory of photography as an inspired blend of fabricated truths and artful falsehoods.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

As Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshopan important new exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, accompanied by curator Mia Finemans illuminating book of the same title from Yale University Pressshows us, the habit of aggressively adjusting photographs is actually an activity dating back to photographys earliest days, and one that exposes a central question about the truth or artifice of the medium."
The Boston Globe

engrossing A talented writer, Met assistant curator Fineman traces photo fakery to the dawn of the medium more than 150 years ago when artists took license for both aesthetic and commercial ends Each chapter, as well as the Discussions of Individual Works, yields pleasures and erudition an unequivocal delight
Publishers Weekly

In the extraordinary 296-page catalogue for the exhibition she curated at the Metropolitan Museum, Fineman is clear to differentiate between the universal manipulations of all lensed images, which she describes as "translating the constantly changing, full- color, three- dimsensional world into a flat, static, bounded image," and "manipulated photography," in which "the final image is not identical to what the camera 'saw' in the instant at which the negative was exposed."
BOMB Magazine

In these days when electronic image sensors and microchips have all but replaced shutters and silver- based film Faking It: Manipulated Photography before Photoshop makes plain, doctoring images has been going on since at least 1841, when an acquaintance of Fox Talbots blotted out a superfluous Capuchin friar from his calotype of a scene in Malta. Enter a world of wispy spirits, montaged blue skies, lopped-off Communists and suspiciously rosy- cheeked portraits in this finely written history.
World Of Interiors

Faking It, Mia Finemans comprehensive history of manipulated photography meticulously researched Intriguingly, Fineman looks at how image manipulation has been used to similar ends within very different contexts many fascinating stories in this book.
Creative Review

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