This Topless Shot Was the First-Ever Photoshopped Photo

By Gerald Lynch on at

Who knew that a casually-shot holiday snap could have had such a profound impact on the modern world? Jennifer in Paradise, as the above shot came to be called, was captured by John Knoll in 1987. It pictured his future wife Jennifer sitting topless on To'opua island in Bora Bora while the pair were away holidaying after an intensive stretch working on Who Framed Roger Rabbit? at Industrial Light and Magic.

Whilst working at ILM, Knoll had come across the impressive-but-costly Pixar Image Computer, one of the first machines that allowed a person to digitally edit images. His brother Thomas was working on a doctorate in computer vision at the University of Michigan at the same time, and believed a project he was working on could allow for similar image editing capabilities on far less-expensive hardware. From this genesis, the pair would eventually build the very first version of Photoshop.

But what's Photoshop without images to edit inside it? Digital photography was rare at the time, so Knoll took the opportunity whilst visiting friends at Apple's Advanced Technology Group to use their high-tech flatbed scanner. The only image he had to scan? Jennifer in Paradise.

When demonstrating Photoshop to potential buyers, Knoll would use the picture of Jennifer to show off the power of his tool, and would package the digital photo along with early versions of the software. And so began the age of the digital nip/tuck. [Guardian via Petapixel]