2014

The retoucher’s accidental art

Rick Poynor
Essay [EXTRACT]

The reworked press photos now being discarded are unique objects and compellingly strange images. Raynal Pellicer has a collection.

One of the most striking exhibitions at Les Rencontres d’Arles photography festival in 2013 occupied a room where the walls were painted a startling Yves Klein blue. This vibrant backdrop gave more than 100 old black-and-white press photographs an eerie, intensified presence. These were not regular, smooth-surfaced photographic prints. Each picture was covered with reframing marks, blocks of dark paint to eliminate the background, and instructions to the printer daubed in crayon and ink …

Brenda Marshall photographed by George Hurrell to promote The Sea Hawk (1940), directed by Michael Curtiz. Publisher unknown.
Top: Humphrey Bogart after retouching. A Columbia Pictures promotional photo by Robert Wallace Coburn for the courtroom drama Knock on Any Door (1949), directed by Nicholas Ray.

Pel-10

Rick Poynor, writer, Eye founder, London

Read the full version in Eye no. 88 vol. 22 2014

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