Culture & Art

September 26, 2012

After Photoshop: Manipulated Photography in the Digital Age

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September 25, 2012—May 27, 2013 

Exhibition Location: Joyce and Robert Menschel Hall for Modern Photography
Press Viewing: Tuesday, October 9, 10 a.m.–noon 

After Photoshop, an addendum to the exhibition Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop, continues the conversation about the ways in which photographers have used the tools of their day to manipulate images. This installation explores how artists have used digital technology to alter photographic images from the late 1980s to the present. It features approximately 25 works drawn from The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection, several of which are on display for the first time.

While photographers have long used manual techniques to alter their images, digital cameras and software applications such as Adobe Photoshop have made this process quicker, easier, and more accessible than ever before. In some instances, contemporary artists have used digital tools to reinterpret celebrated works from the history of photography. Joan Fontcuberta’s Googlegram: Niépce (2005) is based on the first known photograph: Joseph Nicéphore Niépce’s View from the Window at Le Gras (1826). By processing the results of a Google Image search for the words “photo” and “foto” through photomosaic software, Foncuberta re-created Niépce’s photograph as a composite of 10,000 images. Debbie Grossman fashioned her own version of history in the series My Pie Town (2010), in which she modified Russell Lee’s Depression-era photographs of Pie Town, New Mexico, re-populating the scenes exclusively with women.

Other artists in the exhibition use digital manipulation to create otherworldly scenarios. In her ongoing project Double Life, Kelli Connell digitally stitches photographs together to imagine an intimate relationship between two women uncannily similar in appearance—perhaps identical twins. The Belgian architectural photographer Filip Dujardin uses Photoshop and Google SketchUp, a 3D modelling program, to create seamless images of buildings that do not exist in reality. Other artists in the exhibition, including Nancy Davenport, Craig Kalpakjian, Beate Gütschow, Matthew Jensen, Maria Marshall, and Osamu James Nakagawa use digital tools with similar subtlety, creating images that are realistic enough to be believable and just fantastic enough to spur reflection on photography’s mediating role between reality and artifice.

After Photoshop: Manipulated Photography in the Digital Age is organized by Mia Fineman, Assistant Curator, with Shana Lopes, Research Assistant, both in the Department of Photographs. It will be presented concurrently with the special exhibition, Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop, which traces the history of manipulated photography from the 1840s through the early 1990s (on view October 11, 2012–January 17, 2013).

Further details and more information about the exhibition can be found at www.metmuseum.org.

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