A Photo Manipulators Manifesto
It’s 1998 and I’m 14 years old, my eyes locked onto the screen of my first PC. Perched attentively at the desk, I use the mouse to paint a lizard creature in Paint Shop Pro, my brow furrowed in deliberation. I am in my element.
A family friend enters the room to say hi, clutching a handful of software CDs for me to check out on my new computer. Being naive and technology hungry, I was often eager to load up my computer with superfluous software – so I jumped onto the stack of discs to see what could be gleaned. I immediately halted my rummage when I struck an Adobe Photoshop CD – definitely worth a look I thought, recalling I’d heard some good stuff about this program. After installation, the family friend gave a very brief overview of the concept of layers, and then left me to my own devices. Holy smokes!
This was the program of doom, choc laden with a smorgasbord of interesting features and parameters that would take me a hundred years to fully understand. Normal people (especially a working class kid in a housing block) shouldn’t be able to have this much editorial clout, I thought. This was the stuff of design studios; I never knew that this level of creative power was now afforded to the home user. Sleepless nights ensued. I was hooked.
The great thing about home computing is that we live in a time when a fair amount of the world’s technology can be accessed by everyday people using a PC or laptop. Adobe Photoshop is one of the great democratising tools, allowing those with the patience, creativity and determination to develop their skill-set and create work which can rival that of industry professionals. A lack of a studio is no longer a hurdle in achieving great results – success can now be achieved with minimal equipment and a desire to learn and progress. This is one of the great things about Photoshop, everybody can have a go – and if the will takes you, you can develop your skills at a phenomenal rate.