Photo manipulation existed long before computers or Photoshop, as some of the most iconic historical images were altered to improve the shot or for political agendas. Just take a look at these early photo edits from these well-known shots…
1. Stalin (1930)
Josef Stalin was a big lover of airbrushing – as he enjoyed editing his enemies out of photographs. The above photograph is the perfect example, as the commissar was removed from the image after a fall out. Also, is it just us or does he look a lot slimmer in the edited pic?
2. Hitler (1937)
Stalin wasn’t the only dictator that was partial to a bit of airbrushing, as he had his right-hand man, Josef Goebbels, edited out the photo. It was an unusual request, as he and Goebbels remained confidants until the end of his days.
3. Mussolini (1942)
Everyone loves a hero, which was why Benito Mussolini doctored this photograph to appear more heroic. We have to agree, the image is a lot better with the horse handler out of the shot.
4. The Kent State Massacre (1940)
This image from the Kent State Massacre won the Pulitzer Prize, as it captured Mary Anne Vecchio crouching over the body of Jeffrey Miller, following an anti-war protest where the National Guard opening fire on students.. However, many people are unaware that this image was airbrushed, as the fencepost was removed because it was deemed a distraction.
5. The Queen Mother (1939)
All hail the King wasn’t the case when Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon MacKenzie King brushed out King George VI, as he wished to appear solely in the shot with his wife, Queen Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, known to many as the mother of Queen Elizabeth II.
6. WWII (1945)
The Russian magazine Ogonoik brushed out a watch worn by a soldier who was raising the soviet flag at the top of the German Reichstag building. This was to avoid the suggestion of looting by soviet soldiers during World War II.
7. Castro (1968)
You will notice that Carlos Franqui is missing in the new edit. This is because it was removed when he left Cuba for exile in Italy, cut ties with Castro and later signed a letter that condemned the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.
Franqui commented on the edit: “Do I exist? I am a little black, I am a little white. I am a little shit, on Fidel’s vest”.
8. The Gang of Four (1976)
The Gang of Four, powerful members if a radical political elite, were removed from the photo of Mao Tse-Tung’s memorial ceremony, which was held at Tiananmen Square. However, the leader’s death resulted in the gang of four losing a lot of their power in China, and they were imprisoned and tried between 1980 – 1981. The photo was doctored as a result.
9. Abraham Lincoln (1860)
Honest Abe wasn’t all that honest in his photographs, by the looks of it. As his head was imposed onto southern politician John Calhoun’s body.
10. Brandt (1971)
The German press decided to publish the original image of Willy Brandt, the German Chancellor of West Germany, and Lenoid Brezhnev, the First Secretary of the Communist Party, enjoying each other’s company over a smoke and drink. However, the Soviet Press chose to airbrush all evidence of inebriation out of the image, to reflect a more serious meeting.
Would you like to read more historical facts? Take a gander at 10 Titanic Passengers You Have to Know About.