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The first ever Photoshopped image

The first ever Photoshopped image
Photo by John Knoll, via The Guardian

This unassuming, beautiful photo marks more than an exotic beach on Bora Bora and an exotic woman enjoying it. "Jennifer in Paradise" marks the first Photoshopped image.

If you've ever used that photo-manipulating software, you're familiar with this picture. It is a demonstration of the technology we now take for granted.

While on vacation with his soon-to-be fiancee in 1987, John Knoll took a picture of Jennifer. The couple, both employed at George Lucas's special-effects company Industrial Light & Magic, were relaxing after working on the film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit."

Back home, Knoll got back to work.

At ILM, Knoll had encountered a cutting-edge piece of hardware known as the Pixar Image Computer, one of the first that could be used to manipulate images. "I thought it was amazing," he says. "The fact that you could take an image from film, scan it in and turn it into digits and then manipulate those numbers and put it back out on to piece of film – it meant that there was literally no limit to what you could do to it in the middle."

The Pixar machine cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and the image-processing software was so complex it required a specially trained operator. So Knoll was somewhat taken aback when he visited his brother Thomas, who was reading for a doctorate in computer vision at the University of Michigan, and discovered that he'd developed some similar software that could run on a much cheaper Macintosh Plus.

Next page: Find out about Photoshop's first photo manipulation
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