Retro Photoshopping from the 1930s

A Portrait of Actress Joan Crawford That’s ‘Photoshopped

Actress Joan Crawford
Beauty retouching has been around a lot longer than we thought. The side-by-side images above from the early 1930s show what a glamour portrait looked like before and after manual Photoshopping. Photographer George Hurrell shot the portrait of actress Joan Crawford as a publicity shot for the 1931 film Laughing Sinners. A retoucher named James Sharp, who spent six hours smoothing skin, removing spots, and erasing wrinkles. Sharp used a retoucher machine, which backlit and vibrated the original negative, allowing Sharp to physically smooth out the film using a pencil.

If you’re interested in the subject of early Hollywood beauty retouching, there are two books by author Mark A. Vieira you should check out: Hurrell’s Hollywood Portraits and George Hurrell’s Hollywood. You can also find a collection of Hurrell’s glamour portraits over on his estate collection website.