These people even can’t hide a watch on the picture…
But in Soviet time they did well without Photoshop.
For a proof you can go to the GULAG exhibition in the Moscow Museum devoted to photography falsification in the epoch of Stalin. It’s called “The Commissar Vanishes”, though not only commissars used to disappear and not on photos only. ..
Photo falsification in the Soviet propaganda had not only a long history but an excellent technologic school as well. Sometimes it was just an expert retouch – leaders’ faces had to look exemplary. This is one of Stalin’s photos before and after processing.
Retouchers could easily change the clothes on photos. Probably Lavrenti Beria liked his face on this photo but for a publication he preferred to be in civilian clothes.
Old historical photos were doomed to be changed. Here are exile bolsheviks in summer 1915, the Turukhan region. Stalin is behind in a black hat, and a bit more to the right is Leo Kamenev (with mustaches). Later they became enemies. And voila – he disappeared from the photo. Though it still looked primitive, instead of the figure we see someÂ obscure black spot.
A legendary photo – Lenin and Krupskaya with children in Kashino village. In fact adult villagers were also on the photo, later they all were dispossessed and expelled. The photo was cut and the background was darkened.
Group photo dated 1919, VIII conference of the Russian Communist Party. Lenin, Stalin and Kalinin were all initially on the photo but soon Kalinin disappeared – no third figure was necessary when everyone knew who was a true successor of the leader.
Still we speak about ordinary cutting. More complicated methods were also applied. Here’s a picture of revolutionary soldiers, but under some black flag with an advertising sign in the background. Of course proper slogans would be more appropriate to be there!