A PBS youtube channel pays tribute to three of Photoshop’s most important uses: as a revolutionary artistic medium, as a photo retouching instrument, and as a culture remix tool.
In a series called Off the Book, three representatives of the aforementioned subjects are asked for their take on Photoshop, and each one delivers a good case for Adobe’s imaging software.
PBS has a rich history of showcasing photographic achievement
The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is the U.S.’s most trusted television network, according to polls taken since the mid-2000s. It is widely known for continuing the British style of meticulous documenting, for which it has sometimes been jokingly nicknamed “The Primarily British Series”.
PBS’s major photography documentary, a must watch, is 1999’s American Photography: A Century of Images. Through iconic images and enlightening back-stories, it emphasizes how the medium has had a profound effect on American society, from how it gets the news, to what it buys.
For Kodak fans, George Eastman, The Wizard of Photography, presents the outstanding success story of the company’s creator.
As for web contribution, the PBS website has regular photo features. Its Idea Channel has suggested, ever since last year, that Instagram could be the best thing that has ever happened to photography.
Photoshop has shifted perceptions about art, culture and politics
PBS youtube channel Off the Book showcases cutting-edge art and internet culture highlights. It has recently dedicated an episode to Adobe’s imaging software, focusing especially on Photoshop remix culture.
In the short documentary’s first segment, Jeff Huang, accomplished illustrator and art director, makes the point that Photoshop represents a progression of medium in the art of painting.
Paper has become very limited, not to mention expensive, and most of today’s art used in the cinematic or advertising industry is made possible using Adobe’s program, Jeff articulates.
For the second part, Laurent le Moing breaks down photo retouching. He traces the craft back to when it was achieved by carefully painting over film prints or negatives, arriving at the same conclusion as Jeff. Photoshop is the tool of the time for pulling years off of celebrities’ faces.
Laurent questions the morals of this process, and concludes that a good photo retouch is an unnoticeable one.
Finally, the third part is reserved for illustrating the importance of Photoshop in the creation of online culture remixes and political discourse. Don Caldwell, of Know Your Meme, attests how the software has helped with a faster spread of opinions, using as examples the casually pepper spray cop and thumbs & ammo memes.
He goes to show that internet culture isn’t just about funny cat pictures, but also about empowering people to promote moral ideas, or respond to culture on a widespread level.