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    13 Feb 2015

    Your Favorite Historical Moments Were Photoshopped (16 Pics)

    When anyone is in a position of power, public perception becomes either your foundation, or a tidal wave that will swallow you and your legacy whole. Which means, of course, that PR becomes an incredibly important tool to have in your arsenal. This is why all public figures have countless advisors and managers whose only job is to look after the images of their superior. They do not only reflect the powerful’s persona to the masses, after all; they create it.

    PR gurus meticulously examine every image, tweet or video that goes public to ensure that they convey the right message. If they don’t, they are altered or thrown out. Nowadays, thanks to Photoshop, alteration has become as quick as it is common, and virtually every image in every newspaper or magazine ever gets touched up a bit (or a lot!). But even before Photoshop was around, pictures were being altered to fool the masses and distort perception.

    Joseph Stalin

    As part of the trade, dictators are pretty great at doctoring images. Since they are usually not inconvenienced by a free press or those who feel free to express their opinions, it’s a lot easier for their cabinets to control every image of their beloved leaders sent out to the press.
    Case in point: here is a relatively standard photo of Stalin along with other Soviet officials. To Stalin’s left is Nikolai Yezhov, head of Stalin’s “police force”. However, at one point Yezhov fell out of Stalin’s good graces and was removed from office. As was standard practice for Stalin, he attempted to have Yezhov removed from history as well, and had him eliminated from public record, including the above photo.
    Leon Trotsky
    Leon Trotsky was really the one who lived through his own erasure from the Soviet Union. As Stalin’s main rival, Trotsky was a trusted advisor to Lenin and was the one who everyone, Lenin included, saw as the next in line to take power. Stalin, of course, would ensure that that never happened and, as with Yezhov, proceeded to scratch out any signs of Trotsky from the public record.
    Adolf Hitler
    This example is a bit more confusing. For some reason, Joseph Goebbels is removed from the original image, but we are not sure why. The two of them never had a falling out, and Goebbels remained by Hitler’s side until the end.
    As a bonus, here are a few more altered images showing Hitler in possible disguise. These were created after the war by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) out of fear that Hitler might have escaped Germany.
    Benito Mussolini
    Creating an illusion of power and grandeur is essential to the success of any megalomaniac with dictatorial aspirations. In the image above we have Benito Mussolini appearing all heroic and triumphant. However, the real photograph shows a horse handler making sure that the horse doesn’t rear at an inopportune time, dropping Mussolini on his fascist posterior.

    Abraham Lincoln

    The good guys use doctored images, too. This might be one of the most famous portraits of Lincoln, but it is actually a composite image. At the time it was made, Lincoln lacked a truly commanding photo, so one was made using an existing photo of Southern politician (and anti-abolitionist) John Calhoun. It had the right framing, the patriotic background, everything you could want in an inspirational photograph. Now it was just a matter of taking Lincoln’s head and placing it over Calhoun’s–the famed states-rights, pro-slavery politician.
    Ulysses S. Grant
    The same thing happened with this photograph of Ulysses S. Grant. It was taken during the Civil War, which meant that patriotic images of him with his troops were hard to come by. That is why this photograph is actually a composite of three separate images: one with the entire troops and tent-filled background, one with a guy on a horse and one with Grant looking at the camera. In reality, only Ulysses S. Grant’s head is actually his own in that photograph.
    Winston Churchill
    One of the most basic things we know about Winston Churchill is that he liked a good cigar. But modern reproductions of him giving his signature victory salute show the Prime Minister without his iconic cigar. Over the years, the removal of cigarettes or cigars in old photos has become standard practice, and it’s pretty hard to find modern photographs (or modern reproductions of old photos) where people are shown smoking. Another good example is the cover of Abbey Road from the Beatles. Most American covers and posters have airbrushed out the cigarette in Paul’s hand.

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