Famous Manipulated Photos – Pre Photoshop

Did you know the images you see in magazines are touched up and photoshopped to be pleasing to the eye?

Manipulation of Images in Media

I am sure you all said yes. Everything we see today has been digitally enhanced. Every face we see is not only cleaned up, but necks are trimmed, the chins are tucked, and eyes are enlarged. Every blemish from the skin is erased, hair is made more glimmery, all this on top of picking the prettiest of models (see Dove Video). It is no wonder media has such a negative influence on the way children perceive themselves and their own self-image.

Photo Manipulation before Pre-Photoshop

But what about the days before photoshop even existed? What about the photos we see in our history books from the 1800s? Did you know they too were doctored and modified? Did you know Pulitzer winning photos that are now etched into history as the image of some historical event were also modified? Did you know political leaders like Lenin and Hitler frequently modified their photographs to remove people they did not want associated with them? Did you know many of the celebrity pictures you might have seen in magazine is the celebrities HEAD on a different person’s body (See Oprah & Martha Stewart Below!)?

Top 10 Doctored Photos

Times came out with a list of famous pictures that were manipulated. See some examples below.

Civil War Generals 1865 – Extra Man

Manipulated Photoshop Photos - Civil War Generals

This is a picture of the civil war generals which we find in many of our history textbooks. It was taken by Matthew Brady, regarded as the world’s first commercially successful photojournalist. Great picture. Great lineup of Generals, yet the problem is not all these men were present when the pictures were taken. A Commander named Blaire was added to the far right after the fact. See Below.

Manipulated Photoshop Photos - Civil War Generals Original

Lenin Addresses the Troops 1920 – Alone? or Not Alone?

Manipulated Photoshop Photos - Lenin Addresses the Troops 1920

This is a famous picture of Lenin addressing his Red Army as they prepare to go to the Polish front during the Russian Revolution. What we, as well as the Russians who saw these inspiring pictures, is that fellow Central Committee members were also present. Leon Trotsky stands on the right of the podium and Lev Kamenev who is behind him. Though they were part of this turning point in history, they were removed because Stalin saw them as threats to his power. They were purged and their contributions slowly removed from the historical records. See the two men below.

Manipulated Photoshop Photos - Lenin Addresses the Troops 1920 Original

Oprah on TV Guide 1989 – Using your Head

Manipulated Photoshop Photos - Oprah on TV Guide

Oprah, one the most well known celebrities of our time has graced many magazine covers. However in this TV Guide she is seen in a beautiful dress sitting on a pile of cash. You see it? The pile of cash is so fake right? You are right. See anything else? Take a look at the picture below. That’s not Oprah’s body. It’s Ann-Margaret.

Manipulated Photoshop Photos - Oprah on TV Guide Original

You can find other such manipulations of the beatles, pulitzer photos, kim il jung, iranian missles and more Here: Times 10 Doctored Photos

Horrific Photoshop Mistakes

Still don’t believe that everything you see in media is manipulated and photoshopped?
For your enjoyment. See some horrific photoshop mistakes below.

Photoshop Mistakes – Mutant Baby

Photoshop Mistakes - Mutant Baby

Uh… something is not right.

Photoshop Mistakes – Cereal Skin Color

Photoshop Mistakes - Cereal Skin

I am not going to comment on this one. There is no way I can win.

Photoshop Mistakes – Jessica Simpson and Her Friend

Photoshop Mistakes - Jessica Simpson - Extra Hands

No one wants to see the guy with Jessica Simpson.

Photos like these are the reason why some countries have attempted to curb the manipulation of images in advertising. Others have gone vigilante by highlighting photoshop as a means to creating such perfect photos. Β There are tons of such pictures out there. Perhaps I’ll post some for everyone’s enjoyment in the future.

  • Do you believe the images you see in media are mostly altered or manipulated?
  • Do you think the “beautifying” of people in magazines, photos and billboards have an impact in the way young boys and girls view themselves?
  • Which of the top 10 pictures + 3 photoshop mistakes above is the most shocking? Most funny?

Let us know! Comment below.

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  1. that hand on her shoulder is so scaryyyy.

    wow, i didnt know that they could edit photos so well in the past, and no photoshop either!

  2. Hello, these images are very eye-opening. I am doing a project on body image and the media’s influence. May I have your permission to use these photographs?

    1. Christine – yes some of these photoshop manipulations are creepy.

      Laleh – These photos came off of various sources. The famous photos were taken from Times which I myself referenced in one of the links above. The bottom few were from various other blogs who they themselves took it from other sources so it’s pretty difficult to find the original source. Since I myself referenced the sources where I could, feel free to reference this site for these photos. We could always use more exposure πŸ™‚

      thanks for visiting and for your comments

      Media Influence

  3. Interesting article, i specially enjoyed the first picture
    with the civil war generals… i just noticed two little things that
    seem to be easy to misunderstand

    first of all, the girl in the ceral box doesnt really have
    to be a photo manipulation. It actually looks like she
    was wearing something else underneath the sweater. The problem
    seems to be her choice on cloths. Yes, it looks weird. But i
    really dont think thats suppose to be a manipulation of the image.
    Why would they have the need to put her head on somebody else’s
    body? shes not famous, its just a cereal box.

    Second thing, the girl on the last image is CLEARLY not jessica
    simpson. That is NOT her face OR body. and if you look closely
    at the text that is right next to the picture, it seems like
    some sort of catalog where they’re showing prices for each item
    in the picture. And that explains why they removed the guy from the
    picture, they wanted to highlight the girl’s cloth and nothing else.

  4. I am doing a speech on medias influence on teenagers and this site was perfect. Although stats might be nicwe πŸ™‚ good job

  5. Greetings fellow dweller of earth,

    I am doing a Film and Tv Project for University would you mind if I included your website and information in my documentary?

    Thank you in advance for your reply.

    Your friendly earth friend Andy.

  6. Those are very interesting, but the Lenin one is not necessarily a manipulated photo, they may be two different photos. if you look closely at the subjects at the bottom, you can clearly see that you have the same people, but they have all moved. maybe the second one was taken before Trotski arrived or taken after he had moved.

  7. The one with Lenin made be incorrect. You can clearly tell the two pictures are from different angles at different moments in time, as a face or two in one shot are turned more toward the camera than in the other. They may have cut out the two men in question, but it is also possible the two men left or had not arrived during the alternate photo.

  8. Hi laughing when I say that last image of Jessica Simpson. That’s the power of Photoshop.

  9. Those were some funny. The more fun part is that the identity of the person who edited the person remains a secret and the photo becomes a joke. This shows the power of Photoshop. One does not simply learns and manipulates images. He/She requires great attention and should be able to read the details. If not, then this happens.

  10. Hi
    I’m a preschool teacher and I want to do a superhero theme.
    I want to Photoshop a student’s picture into a superwoman or superman’s body and a magazine cover. I know how to take their picture but I don’t know how to photoshoot it. Can you please tell me how?
    Thank you

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