Time Magazine’s The Vanishing Art of the Family Photo Album includes a detailed description of photo albums and how they have changed over time. Several albums include mutilated photos with what would appear to be one person completely obliterated from the photo.
Is this really necessary and more importantly, does this attempt to change history really help? After all, these people were present when the photos were taken and it seems that removal of the origin person draws more attention to the fact that he or she was there in the first place. Somehow, an isolated child interacting with a headless figure just doesn’t make sense, nor does a bride holding a disembodied hand.
Digital may help somewhat in that cloning can attempt to recreate the missing background. But even that doesn’t really solve the problem, and it certainly doesn’t change history.
See Is The Photo Album DEAD? for more on this story and for some tips on how to preserve digital photos.