People tend to forget that image manipulation has been around for virtually the entirety of photographic history. Yes, that is right, long before Photoshop people did tings like composite images and other tricks that we now associate with Adobe’s flagship image editing software. No image that I have seen quite illustrates this point quite like this composite photo taken during WWI.


The photo is a composite of several shots by photographer Frank Hurley, who was Australia’s official wartime photographer. Hurley’s job as the wartime photographer was to capture the “truth” of war so that the people back home could see what was going on. The problem though, according to Hurley, was that a single frame from his large glass plate camera could not capture what war was really like.

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To remedy this Hurley combined several images to create the final image that you see. Its a practice used very often in today’s world of Photoshop, we even talk about it in our newborn photography workshop for heavens sake. The difference is that it took Hurley much longer to make these.

The final product though is something to marvel at really, the quality of this composite is superb. It’s better than many of the Photoshop composites that I have seen out there. Then again, it may also be helped my the fact that the quality of images from WWI is not what it is today. But all the same, very good work for something that had to be done manually by hand.

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