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The surprisingly old art of photo fakery

We’ve been doctoring pictures as long as we’ve been taking them.

Everywhere you look, the changes are there, hiding in plain sight. That sunset, brighter than life. That portrait with a blemish removed, or even a person. Sometimes you can tell right away that a photograph’s been altered. Very often, you have no idea.

As photography goes completely digital, pictures of all kinds are being dramatically enhanced, even transformed, with easy-to-use post-production software. Websites regularly expose the fakery of fashion shoots (which are remade pixel by pixel, until beautiful people look impossibly so), but it’s not just supermodels. Nowadays even supposedly casual shots are filtered through Hipstamatic before they’re posted on Facebook.

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