Back in the olden days (1970s), if you wanted to remove (for example) a telephone wire from a photograph of a building, you’d send a print of the photograph to a photo retoucher who would physically paint over the wire using an airbrush—exactly reproducing the background the wire was covering. By that I mean, if the wire was against the sky, they would reproduce the sky along the path of the wire, as if the wire were not there. Today, I use the Airbrush tool in Photoshop, but back then, we’d pay a specialist to airbrush a physical photographic print.
What got me thinking back on airbrushing was an article from the Daily Mail about another photo retouching device (I have not heard of) called the Adams Retouching Machine.
And that got me thinking about some of the great airbrush artists, the one whose work I remember with near-reverence, is Charlie White III and I’ve included a link to an example of his work below.
The photograph is courtesy of Magnum Arts.