Photoshop Isn't the Over-Glorified Paintbrush I Remember

Over the last few months, I've found that I've needed to use Photoshop more and more. This strikes me as odd, considering how I haven't needed it for a single touch-up in over four years. But now that I've built an intranet at work, as well as putting up this simple WordPress site, it seems that Photoshop has once again become part of my regular tools.

I've taken more pictures since meeting Reiko than I have in my entire life. Everything seems more interesting and has more colour when I'm with her, so why not capture those moments with a camera? Of course, those images then need to be sized, trimmed, re-touched or down-right modified before being posted online (if posted at all). That's not to say that every picture needs to be touched up … just one ones that need to sit at a 11.5 degree counter-clockwise rotation, like the picture in the upper left hand corner.

The version of Photoshop that's currently installed on my notebook is CS. I realise that this is an "older" version, but seriously, for what I do with images, I could easily get away with Photoshop 4. Layers, overlays, text manipulation and simple transformations are all I really do (and understand). I'm sure that over the next few months I'll learn how to do very cool things like alter skin tones or change backgrounds as well as subject lighting. But that would change the entire purpose of the picture, wouldn't it?

I love technology, don't get me wrong. But I wonder how much of a picture can be changed before the purpose of the picture is lost? A picture is a snapshot … a moment in time. By altering it, we're altering our memory of the event. People could make themselves look thinner, or heavier, or taller, or have darker or lighter skin … the list goes on. In this ever self-conscious society, how many of us will be altering our pictures to make ourselves look better?

I guess this is really a question of how much fiction will we insert into our personal histories.

While I don't think I'll be modifying these pictures to darken my skin or give myself that million dollar smile, I'll certainly make sure to never over-write the original pictures. Life is beautiful as it is. We don't need to fret over the little things.