Dear Adobe Photoshop

Dear Adobe,

We need to have a talk. A come to Jesus moment, if you will. Allow me to begin by saying how much I love your product. I’ve used Photoshop since the beginning of Photoshop. Prior to your creation, I retouched images and negatives the way every print artist did:  brushes, dyes, pencils. You should have seen my recipe for “flesh tone.” It was a thing of beauty. But, it had its flaws, namely, each print had to be worked individually. And I sure as heck didn’t like those damn lacquer sprays, the spray booth, or the fact I had to don a breathing mask to apply them. I felt like the Darth Vader of print retouching, but without any of the fun mind control powers.

So when your product came along, I was a bit excited. Sure, I had ZERO idea how any of it worked. Although I had been a print retoucher for years, trying to figure out your program was impossible on my own. I had a better chance of getting a rocket into space then I did of understanding Photoshop. So, I enrolled in an “Intro to Photoshop” class at my community college to get the basics and understand how it all worked. Best $60 I’ve ever spent.

And as the years went by, I watched the versions update; the tools expand; the abilities of the program increase. And I marveled (still do) at the minds that make this happen. The vision and knowledge necessary to make a product such as Photoshop, much less continue to improve its features, is kind of amazing. (And I rarely use the word “amazing.”) I still don’t know everything there is to know about Photoshop, and to be honest, I don’t want to. Unless it’s applicable to what I do, I don’t need to know it. There’s only so much room in my brain, Adobe, and at this point, when info comes in, something might need to leave. It’s kind of like my closet. For this reason, I try to fill it with only the important things.

But when Photoshop entered the subscription phase with Photoshop CC, I raised an eyebrow. Not that I had to purchase a subscription, but because I wasn’t pleased with one tool: the healing brush. It simply didn’t work the same way. Yes, yes, of course, I clicked “use legacy brush,” but still, not the same. So, I held out with my Photoshop CS5. I upgraded my computers and operating systems, but clung firm to my CS5 like a drowning woman to a floating piece of wood. But alas, I was like Leonardo DiCaprio and you were Kate Winslet, and with my most recent iMac purchase, you shoved me off the wood. (THERE WAS ROOM FOR ALL OF US ON THAT WOOD, ADOBE)

Begrudgingly, I began to use Photoshop CC 2017. Maybe I cried over it, but you’ll never know for sure. And all was going well until last night, when I went to use the liquify tool to smooth the arms of a subject just a wee bit. I opened liquify and there, in front of me on my screen, were expanded liquify features. So expanded, that I sort of freaked out. And by sort of freaked out, I yelled, “WHAT THE HELL?”

I scared the dog, Adobe.

Now, it’s not enough just to give a gentle nudge with liquify—oh no. Thanks to the face recognition feature, you can COMPLETELY CHANGE someone’s features.

And I have to ask…WHY? In what photography universe is this okay? Why is this necessary? What has portrait photography become if THESE Photoshop features are needed? Forget fake news…these sliders have the power to easily create FAKE FACES. This feature could have its own 24 hours news channel.

You see, people will use this for evil, Adobe. You know they will. Sure, people have have been manipulating features since the advent of Photoshop, but this makes it so easy that I fear people will assume this is the norm. And really, what’s next? Boob Aware? Will there be “Perky” sliders? “Lift” sliders. Will it extend to Booty Aware? Hips Aware? Teeth Aware? Hair Aware? This does not bode well for portrait photography. I mean, just because we can doesn’t always mean we should. DID WE LEARN NOTHING FROM JURASSIC PARK, ADOBE?

I’m a little emotional right now just thinking about it.


I’m beginning to wonder if it might get to the point in the near future where the finished image is so far removed from what the client actually looks like that we won’t even bother photographing a client…we’ll just create them in Photoshop.




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