Twenty-five years ago this month, Adobe launched a simple computer program by the name of Adobe Photoshop. At the time, it was only capable of basic editing like stretching, skewing, and blurring. But it was the first version of the user-friendly program that suddenly meant that anyone could retouch their photos if they owned a digital camera or scanner.
Since then it has become one of the most powerful and widely used image editing tools in the world. Over the past 25 years, it has been used to tweak countless photos for magazine covers, advertisements, newspapers, recipe books, holiday snaps, and more. Photoshop is so widely used that it has practically altered our perception of reality. Just look at the reaction whenever untouched up photos are released; they often go viral.
Photoshop is an amazingly versatile and powerful tool. It can be used to make subtle tweaks, changing the exposure or colour balance of a photo; to combine photos for added effect; or to create entirely new pieces. Just take a look at the Dream On video that Adobe released to see Photoshop’s potential.
Even the process of putting the video together showcases the power of the program. A number of artists provided the original working files, which Adobe then took and animated, exposing the adjustments and layering that goes into creating something that seems believable, even if the subject is completely unbelievable.
The impact of Photoshop is far-reaching. Nowadays, social media sites, various apps, and even mobile phones enable users to tweak their photos quickly and easily. All of us can tweak our lives as we wish in minutes.
There is always the risk that Photoshop can be used inappropriately. One of the creators of Photoshop, Thomas Knoll, said to CBS, “like any tool it can be used to do good things or bad things.” As much was said when the tool was showcased on The Today Show in 1990. At the time, senior art director of Adobe, Russell Brown, said that “it’s here to stay.” Twenty-five years later, that statement rings equally true.
In Short: Photoshop turns 25 this month. How times have changed. What was once a basic image editing tool has become one of the most powerful and popular.