first image to get photoshopped
Sagar Bhagirath

A social media marketer who is expert in strategy formulation and is able to get ROI through Ad campaigns. Has managed more than 50+ clients all over the globe.


You might be well verse with photoshop, right? But did you know when was the first image to get photoshopped?

She posed topless for her boyfriend on a beach at Bora Bora, he snapped and today the image is a global phenomenon. Not because she posed half naked or had a curvy figure but it got into the limelight because it was the first digital image to be photoshopped. Literally a boon to the digital world, Photoshop turns to be the game changer. And the first image to get photoshopped withholds an interesting story. Why would it not? After all it oozed mankind one step further to perfection in terms of photography and associated editing skills.

The Story:

While on a vacation at Bora Bora Island, John Knoll took a photograph of his topless girlfriend, Jennifer Walters, relaxing on the beautiful virgin beach across the To’opua Island. Soon after the image was pictured, John Knoll proposed her to be his future wife. The time they had was magical according to her and she was minutely amused as he titled the photo as ‘Jennifer in paradise’.

But who motivated him?

John’s brother Thomas was reading for a doctorate in computer vision at the Michigan University. John was taken back when he realized that Thomas had been working on a project that could manipulate images with just influencing with the numbers on the screen. John later started encouraging his brother to develop the software which later turned out to be known as Photoshop. It was a cheaper alternative to the Pixar Image Computer (a hardware which was earlier used to manipulate images). The added features provided a vast impetus to the software and finally John believed they had something they could sell.

1987 didn’t see a lot of digital pictures and it proved difficult for Knoll brothers to demonstrate what their new application could do. Hence while visiting friends at Advanced Technology Group lab at Apple, Knoll took the occasion to use their flatbed scanners. The only picture he had with him at that time was the 6in*4in image shot at Bora Bora Island of his wife. ‘Jennifer in paradise’ had therefore made the way to be the first image to be photoshopped.

John considered the image to be perfectly soothing to the eye and had perfect settings that could’ve been technically enhanced. The world inched closer to perfection as the software evolved with the first photoshopped image. Knoll used the image to demonstrate his software to the companies and he would often leave a copy of the image with the software in a package. Repeatedly he’d find out that the image was cloned by most of the companies.

The conclusion:

Photoshop has had a huge impact on the modern day photography and its excessive use aggravates some photographers around the globe. Knoll has an interesting interpretation about his software as he thinks it depends on the ethics of an artist till what extent he uses the tool. Whatever may it be to the accusers, it has been a dream come true for every photographer that a software like Photoshop was invented. Certainly, ’Jennifer in paradise’, the first image to get photoshopped has been iconic and should always be cherished for the endless possibilities it has unwrapped for the photographic universe.

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