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Photo-Manipulation

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Artist Hannah Höch: armed and dangerous. Pedro Meyer by George Mead Moore. Pedro Meyer, Los Meyer, 1940/2000.

Pedro Meyer by George Mead Moore

The photographer's father Ernesto and son Julio in the picture with him. All images courtesy of the artist. A true pioneer in many areas, Pedro Meyer is one of the first photographers to swim from the shores of analogue photography to those of the digital world. A lifelong innovator, he created the important Latin American Colloquiums of Photography now in their 20th year and also founded the Mexican Council of Photography, from which other major photographic institutions in Mexico have all stemmed.

His CD-ROM, I Photograph to Remember, was one of the first to be produced with photographs and sound. Most recently, he has been involved in creating the website known as ZoneZero, which presents the work of photographers, artists and writers from all over the world. George Mead Moore Given your current involvement in the Internet, Pedro, it’s appropriate that our interview is being conducted online. PM Nothing wrong with that reality.

PM My mind, you ask? Ken Gonzales-Day's "Erased Lynching" At first, “Disguised Bandit” — a life-size reproduction of a century-old postcard by Ken Gonzales-Day — does not suggest anything out of the ordinary.

Ken Gonzales-Day's "Erased Lynching"

A sparse tree cuts the center of the photograph. A group of white American soldiers flanks the tree. One man grins. The others stare passively into the camera. But the meaning — and the power — of the image (Slide 3) resides not in what’s visible, but in what’s not: the “disguised bandit” suggested by the inscription at the bottom of the postcard. “Disguised Bandit” is part of Mr. The missing bodies in these photographs serve as a metaphor for the expunging of Latinos, Native Americans and Asians from the history of lynching in America. Ken Gonzales-Day“Water Street Bridge.” While lynchings of African-Americans in the South and elsewhere were often defined by scholars and within popular culture as illegal acts of vigilantism and murder, the killing of Latinos, Native Americans and Asians in the West was often romanticized and idealized.

Trick or Truth? by J. Hoberman. “Every photograph is a fake from start to finish,” the photographer Edward Steichen asserted in the first issue of Camera Work in 1903.

Trick or Truth? by J. Hoberman

In what amounts to a backhanded defense of photography as art, Steichen explained that “a purely impersonal, unmanipulated photograph” was “practically impossible.” A year later, he would print The Pond-Moonrise—a sylvan pond contemplated through a heavy curtain of atmosphere, realized through layers of pigment, the application of a blue wash, and an enhanced (or introduced) slice of lunar radiance.

Is photography a way of documenting the world that has an inherent “truth-claim” on the real? Or is it, as Steichen suggested, essentially graphic, a technique for creating a certain kind of image? “Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop,” an exhibition now up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (later traveling to the National Gallery and Houston’s Museum of Fine Art), makes a vigorous case for understanding the medium as Steichen did.

Metropolitan Museum of Art.