Lewis Reed Shows Off His “Photoshopping” Skills… 100 Years Ago

If you take a look at the state of photography today, such as the advances of digital cameras and the artful image manipulation by Photoshop, it is easy to forget that back in the 1900s photographers couldn’t just go into a computer program and change their images any way they wanted. They did what they could with the tools they had. Double image exposure was one tool Lewis Reed had in his photography tool belt. He was doing crazy things to images and creating humorous effects over 100 years ago. With double exposure technique, you could create certain effects like placing the same person on both sides of a picture simultaneously. Photographs were pieced together in the darkroom from separate photographs.

Below are eight (circa 1920s) photographs from Lewis Reed’s collection that will make you do a double take. No digital manipulation here. (click on photos to enlarge)

1900s double exposure image

A double exposure image of Lewis Reed’s brother, Edgar, seated on both sides of a table.

1900s double exposure image

Lewis Reed standing on both sides of a steamroller

1900s double exposure image

Another double exposure wonderment. Wanna Fight?

1900s double exposure image

Oh No! What on earth are they doing? I don’t know, but this one is epic.

1900s double exposure image

Don’t Shoot! Lewis Reed is standing both front left and front right in this photo

1900s double exposure image

Surrealistic, ghost-like effect of Lewis Reed standing next to a tree in the middle of train track.

1900s double exposure image

More “photoshop” fun. Lewis Reed pushing the same man in baby carriage on both sides of the photo.

1900s double exposure image

It’s a bird, it’s a plane .. no, it’s a man up in a tree!


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About Reed Brothers

I am a co-owner of the former Reed Brothers Dodge in Rockville, Maryland. Lewis Reed, the founder of Reed Brothers Dodge was my grandfather. We were a family-owned and operated car dealership in Rockville for almost a century. I served in the United States Air Force for 30 years before retiring in the top enlisted grade of Chief Master Sergeant in July 2006. In 2016, I received the Arthur M. Wagman Award for Historic Preservation Communication from Peerless Rockville for documenting the history of Reed Brothers Dodge in both blog and book format. This distinguished honor recognizes outstanding achievement by writers, educators, and historians whose work has heightened public awareness of Rockville’s architectural and cultural heritage, growth and development.

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