Before There Was Photoshop, These Photographers Knew How to Manipulate an Image

Jerry Uelsmann and other artists manually blended negatives to produce dreamlike sequences

(© Jerry N. Uelsmann)

Darkroom Dreamscapes

(© Jerry N. Uelsmann)

As a student, Uelsmann had mentors who challenged him to put his emotions into his work. “I gained an appreciation of the idea that you can build images that can personally have great meaning for you,” he says. “I really identified with the transition from outer-directed art to what was essentially inner-directed art at the start of the 20th century.” In the darkroom, though, he tries not to get too theoretical: “My challenge is just to keep working and see what happens.” He made the image, shown above, in 1976.


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