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When Photographs Change the Historical Record.

When Photographs Change the Historical Record.

The Mill Door.

Photographs May also Tell a Thousand Lies.

The beginnings of Photoshop or collage photography in the Nineteenth Century.

Combination Printing from "Pictorial Effect in Photography," by H. P. Robinson.

Combination Printing {is] a method which enables the photographer to represent objects in different planes in proper focus, to keep the true atmospheric and linear relation of varying distance, and by which a picture can be divided into separate portions for execution the parts to be afterwards printed together on one paper thus enabling the operator to devote all his attention to a single figure or sub-group at one time, so that if any part be imperfect for any cause, it can be substituted by another without loss of the whole picture as would be the case if taken at one operation. By this devoting the attention to individual parts, independently of the others, much greater perfection can be obtained in details such as the arrangement of draperies, refinement of pose, and expression.

Perhaps the greatest use to which combination printing is now put is in the production of portraits with natural landscape backgrounds.....

Example of Combination Printing: The Mill Door.

A 300-year-old mill was a subject that he could not resist. Robinson made friends with the miller, who appears in several of the photographs he took at Gelligynan. It was an impossible notion for a photographer to made a single exposure at the time with a variety of technical difficulties of the day. Robinson decided to employ combination printing which would ensure that each individual photograph represented exactly what was required given the length of time to take a photograph. Each picture may be printed from as many as five negatives onto one sheet of paper. Publication of these methods created a storm of protest because they believed that they were deceived as they thought that the prints were made from a single negative. It is "composition and not patchwork," claimed Mr. Robinson.

What you see may not represent reality. It is an artistic composition first made with an artist sketch in a studio. The various elements are arranged to create a composition that is more like an artistic sketch than a real photograph. So does it represent a moment in time or an artistic notion of reality. The original intention is that the "viewer" would never know how much the photographer has "fooled with," or "manipulated" the image according to Henry Peach Robinson and Alfred Stieglitz. Stieglitz basically said, 'You have chooses! It (the photograph) can be made better than reality. Photographs should be more than just snapshots. It should be art.' Old photographs without historical integrity? This is what Mr. Robinson termed: "A pictorial photograph."

The Mill Door, 1884, from the Gelligynan, North Wales,
"Figures in Landscape" series.
Albumen print, 27.9 cm x 38.1 cm.
Held in a private collection.

Photographer: Henry Peach Robinson, born 9 July 1830, died 21 February 1901.

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