Iconic Photos Show Editing Before Photoshop [Pics]

Iconic Photos Show Editing Before Photoshop [Pics]

Prints from the darkroom of Pablo Inirio, Magnum Photos’ master printer, feature the hand-written edits that turn a photo into a memorable shot.

Daniela Walker
  • 16 september 2013

A lot goes into making an iconic photograph – the subject, the composition, the backdrop, photographer, and the little talked about dark room retoucher. Pablo Inirio, long time master printer for photographer cooperative group, Magnum Photos, has laid his hands on some of the most famous photos of all time. Now, pictures of the edits he has made, to make these photos what they ended up as, have surfaced.


In the photos you can see handscrawled notes by Inirio, where he has lightened and darkened portions of the photograph to give it depth and the right lighting. He lightened Audrey Hepburn’s face and added mystique to James Dean walking in the fog. In a time prior to Photoshop, the dark room was the site where a lot of the magic of photography happened.



Despite the rise of digital photography, Inirio still finds himself busy with work, printing Magnum Photos for galleries and collectors. He tells blog The Literate Lens:

Digital prints have their own kind of look, and it’s fine, but fiber prints have such richness and depth. Collectors and galleries still want prints on fiber paper—they just like the way it looks.


To find out more, read The Literate Lens interview with Inirio.

Magnum Photos


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