I'll always remember the first computer exhibition I attended in the early 1990's where suppliers were showing off their latest monitors, desk-top computers and inkjet printers. This was around the time I was becoming fascinated by the possibility of getting my 30-40-year-old slides scanned by Kodak and recorded on a CD so I could either see my slides on TV, and/or print them, using the latest inkjet printer and a computer I hadn't yet bought.
But what grabbed my attention most was a section of the exhibition where someone sitting at a desk in front of a monitor, was showing off the capabilities of Photoshop.
At the time I was rather dismayed that current monitors did not have the resolution to display all the detail in a Kodak scan of my slides, when I wanted to view the full composition, so I was interested in the facility of Photoshop to enlarge or diminish the size of any image according to my preferences.
I asked the operator behind the desk to demonstrate for me the maximum enlargement that was possible. I was amazed that at the maximum enlargement I could clearly see each individual pixels. I then asked him if it was possible to change the color of any individual pixel. Sure, he replied, and proceeded to turn one blue pixel, within a small patch of blue on the image, into a red pixel, then downsized the enlargement to its normal size.
In the image at its normal size on the monitor, I could clearly see in that same patch of blue, a very tiny red speck that wasn't there before. Wow! The thought immediately occurred to me, that theoretically, through a process of changing each individual pixel, one could change any photographic image of anything into a completely different image. One could theoretically begin with an image of a house or a car, and gradually turn it into an image of a sexy lady, using the same pixels, just changing their color.
Of course, using such a meticulous process as changing the color of each individual pixel in order to change the over all composition, would be very tedious and time-consuming, especially in view of the much higher resolution of modern images. I'm not suggesting this is a sensible approach. However, there are many useful techniques in Photoshop that allow one to change various sizes of groups of pixels, through a process of selection and feathering.
Lightening a face, brightening an eye, darkening a sky, raising the shadows, and so on, are all part of the creativity involved in processing an image.
The difference between a painter and a photographer is, the painter begins with a blank canvas and adds to it, using paint and a paint brush, whereas the photographer already has all the paint he needs, which has been provided by the camera. He can be as creative as he wants using a much more sophisticated tool than a paint brush. His tool is Photoshop, which allows him to rearrange the paint on the canvas endlessly and repeatedly according to his patience, skill, motivation and innate creativity. Okay!