10 Ways How Photoshop Changed The History Of Photography

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In the past, you had to be very patient as a digital photographer. If you wanted to catch something spectacular you had to carry your camera with you everywhere until you saw something special. To capture a sunrise you had to get up at the crack of dawn. Models had to spend hours in the makeup room and studios had to be well lit. Everything I just mentioned changed instantly with the invention of Photoshop.

Photoshop has changed the history of digital photography. Nowadays, when you look at an amazing photo or image your first impression is still “wow” but your immediate second thought is “that has to be photoshopped”. When you think of the history of Photoshop and everything Photoshop did to change the game, it’s pretty insane.


In this article, I’m going to cover some of the ways how Photoshop has changed digital photography forever.

How We See The World

how photoshop has changed photography

The most significant effect Photoshop has had on us is how we see our world. Digital artists and manipulators know how to take an ordinary photograph and turn it into something completely different and extraordinary.

how photoshop has changed photography

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Images that are photoshopped really have me doubting reality sometimes. Whether they have to do with people, places, or things, you can’t argue with the creativity and time that goes into some of these images. They give you a new perspective on the world.

How We View History

how photoshop has changed photography

Aside from the historical significance of digital photography, Photoshop has changed the way we view history in general. Historical photographs can be photoshopped just as easily as any other image, which leaves you wondering if you are viewing a historical painting or a modern piece of Photoshop art.

How We Advertise

I bet you were wondering when I was going to get to this part. Advertising has changed forever due to image manipulation. You can’t look through a magazine without seeing dozens of photoshopped ads (I dare you to try).

Think about what this means. To me, this says that companies that used to run text ads or had to hire a photographer to take their photos can now just pay someone to make their ad on a Mac or PC. Photoshop has changed advertising and business as a whole.

How We View The Human Form

Photoshop has also changed our image of what the perfect person looks like. With models and celebrities – most notably – we have seen Photoshop go into every magazine cover and spread in modern existence. Allow me to touch on a few examples of this.

Erasing Blemishes

Ever wonder how your favorite actor looks so perfect all the time? Well, they don’t. Image editing has led us to believe that some people are actually perfect in appearance, when in reality these photos have been doctored. You want to look perfect in all of your photos? Start learning Photoshop.

Adding Style

You can do anything you want to a person on Photoshop. Hair color, eye color, fashion, you name it – you can change everything.

Age Progression

Want to see what Katie Holmes might look like in a few dozen years? Someone’s already thought of that.

You can use Photoshop for practical means like predicting age progression. It takes a bit of talent, but nonetheless it’s a possibility.

How We Witness Nature

If you’ve ever seen Planet Earth on the Discovery Channel you know that there are some beautiful places on this planet with some crazy looking creatures living there. Photoshop has allowed artists to get even more creative with nature and create their own species and landscapes. See the skull in that tree?

What We Find Humorous

A lot of photoshopped images are meant to be funny. Creators use irony and humor to adapt digital photos to make us laugh.

To Make Fantasy Reality

Aside from all the real world examples of Photoshop history, images are constantly created to invoke our imagination. When you look at one of these pieces of art you are able to visualize the artist’s dreams and fantasies. What did we do before this?

Conclusion

These are the 10 ways I’ve noticed that Photoshop has changed the history of the digital photograph. There’s got to be more but these things just don’t jump out at me anymore due to the norms I’m accustomed to in the Photoshop era.

What do you think about Photoshop? Has it affected your life in some way? Leave your thoughts, ideas, comments, and praises below!

Image Credits: Gizmodo, Village of Joy, BestPhotoshopTurotials, Hongkiat, catfish08

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Comments (14)
  • kammyb

    Well said Martin, particularly your statement that over time, people perceive that as what reality should be and anything else is lacking. Digital manipulation encourages increased cynicism in our society. People become more unimpressed with actual beauty and amazing feats as our our senses are barraged with the unreal that looks real.

  • Anonymous

    Well said Martin, particularly your statement that over time, people perceive that as what reality should be and anything else is lacking. Digital manipulation encourages increased cynicism in our society. People become more unimpressed with actual beauty and amazing feats as our our senses are barraged with the unreal that looks real.

  • Steve Campbell

    Martin,

    Thanks a lot for your insightful comment. I can tell you are very passionate about this subject. I’m afraid those days you miss are long gone, and you’re right, we do hold images to higher standards now because we have a different view of what reality is. Well said.

  • Martin

    Great article.
    I am a huge fan of photoshop (and like products), and of the amazing products of creativity than can be brought into being using photoshop. But I also miss the assurance that existed in the past in the reality depicted by the photograph.
    There were ways to alter them, sure, but none of them were easy – and most important, the average joe couldn’t do it in twenty minutes like they can today.
    I love manipulated photography, but at some point I want to just be able to look at a pic and know that it is real, unaltered, original. And that security is very hard to find these days.
    Also, with digital effects in general, I think we tend to focus so much on how we can so easily manipluate virtual reality that we forget to concentrate on actually altering reality.
    The last picture in the article, of the boy moving the spots of light with his hands, brings to mind majestic fantasies. But it tends to lead the viewer, over time, to perceive that as what reality should be, to view anything less than that as lacking.
    With that, and with photoshop beautification, we are starting to hold ourselves to standards that are impossible to meet, and perhaps even more importantly, we are concentrating more on manipulating the images than on changing reality.

    • Steven Campbell

      Martin,

      Thanks a lot for your insightful comment. I can tell you are very passionate about this subject. I’m afraid those days you miss are long gone, and you’re right, we do hold images to higher standards now because we have a different view of what reality is. Well said.

  • bee

    very cool…

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.