Was There Life Before Photoshop?

Calling all artists and graphic designers out there: I want to know, was there life before photoshop? My answer is, of course there was. I realized this recently when my seven-year old Mac reached the end of its life and I was stuck wanting to do a graphic design project. I didn’t have the right tools to do it. In an excited way I decided to return to the old techniques of actually cutting with scissors and pasting with glue in order to alter an antique magazine.  As much as I enjoy the power of photoshop, I find holding the materials in my hands to be very satisfying. With that said, I find great joy from putting something antique into the computer. It’s like a way of preserving something and giving it a longer life.  The process I am about to explain is a celebration of  the value of technology that lets you scan, copy, and make sure artifacts like these last forever. But it’s also a homage to cutting and pasting in real life.

The process begins with an old Spanish magazine I found from 1919. I discovered it in an old used bookshop near where I live in Buenos Aires.  It’s cover called out to me. It’s old soap advertisement for the soap, Heno de Pravia which is still used today. A woman wearing a flapper style beaded bra has a man’s head in one hand and is reaching for soap in the other hand. I looked at it and thought it would be awesome if she had the man’s heart in her hands instead. I didn’t have photoshop, so instead I took these classic steps in order to get the effect I wanted.

First I looked on the computer for non-copyrighted anatomical hearts and printed them out. I wanted a red one without too much detail. Then I cut each heart I liked with scissors. When necessary I used a razor for the finer details. 

I placed each heart in its potential position and finally found the winning heart! I cut the bottom a little bit in a straight line so it wouldn’t look like it was just floating on the table, but sitting there nicely!

Then I made a color copy of the magazine and cut the woman’s arm and hand so I could place it over the heart.

I matched them up perfectly and then I glued everything together just right.

Then I scanned and printed everything so that one day I could have this beautiful archive to show future generations without it ripping in my hands. I was happy with how it came out and enjoyed exploring a new process even without my beloved photoshop!

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One thought on “Was There Life Before Photoshop?

  1. I don’t get the connection between a man’s head on a platter and a bar of soap, but maybe people got it in 1919.

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