By tracing the history of manipulated photography from the earliest days of the medium to the release of Photoshop 1.0 in 1990, Mia Fineman offers a corrective to the dominant narrative of photography’s development, in which champions of photographic “purity,” such as Paul Strand, Edward Weston, and Henri Cartier-Bresson, get all the glory, while devotees of manipulation, including Henry Peach Robinson, Edward Steichen, and John Heartfield, are treated as conspicuous anomalies. Among the techniques discussed on these pages—abundantly illustrated with works from an international array of public and private collections—are multiple exposure, combination printing, photomontage, composite portraiture, over-painting, hand coloring, and retouching. The resulting images are as diverse in style and motivation as they are in technique. Taking her argument beyond fine art into the realms of politics, journalism, fashion, entertainment, and advertising, Fineman demonstrates that the old adage “the camera does not lie” is one of photography’s great fictions.
n August 1993, when Nirvana was in New York to perform at the legendary Roseland Ballroom, Jesse Frohman photographed them for the London Observer’s Sunday magazine—the last formal photo shoot in which Cobain participated before he committed suicide on April 5th, 1994. Over the course of ninety photographs, Cobain seems an almost feral creature, by turns gentle, playful, defiant, suffering, or absorbed in his music. There’s a diverse range of shots of Cobain with fellow band members Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl and on his own, posing, performing, and greeting fans. Jon Savage’s original interview, which appeared with Frohman’s photographs in the Observer is also reproduced, giving us Cobain in his own words. The book is a touching tribute to Cobain twenty years after his tragic demise, and following Nirvana’s recent induction in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 90 illustrations, 25 in color