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Headless Portraits Brought to You By Victorian Era Photoshop

Photoshop may be a thing of more modern times, but clever use of photomanipulation certainly is not. Case in point? Headless portraits made using Victorian Era photoshop techniques. I have to warn you, though: the photos you are about to see, while fascinating, could be downright creepy!

Aside from an eye for details and good composition, professional photographers these days should also have good Photoshop skills. However, that doesn’t mean photomanipulation is a modern-day trickery. In fact, as far back as the late 1800s during the Victorian Era, photographers have been looking for ways to make their photographs more interesting and even bewildering enough to maintain a lucrative photography business.

Image via Pictures in Time

Soon, they found the answer in photomanipulation, which some, like Samuel Kay Balbirnie pegged in his 1878 advertisement above, called “new discoveries in photography.”

One of these tricks that pre-date the term and the software Photoshop involved combining images from two or more negatives to create novelty portraits and trick photos. The “headless photographs,” where men and women whose chopped heads are skewered, served on platters, or simply carried by their owners, are just some of the interestingly macabre ones.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, if you are all ready, step right up and let’s take a look at some of them!

So, what do you think of these early photoshop tricks? Tell us your insights with a comment below!

All information for this article were sourced from Flavorwire, and Pictures in Time.

written by plasticpopsicle


  1. bsdunek


    Yes, a bit creepy, but I think I'll make some of those. Sure would get people at our Art Association!

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  2. thedriver


    First one is a bit creepy. Wouldnt mind having a go at this

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  3. mrtinkles



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  4. mrtinkles



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  5. mafiosa



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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Deutsch & Italiano.