When this ground breaking software was first released The Today Show reached out to me to be interviewed about the new ability to digitally manipulate photographs.
At that time our book “A Day in the Life of America” had just hit #1 on the New York Times best seller list but there was a controversy about the book’s cover shot by brilliant National Geographic photographer Frans Lanting. My business partner David E. Cohen and I had commissioned a very expensive high end retouching company called SciTex to alter the cover photo to fit the dimensions of the book.
The reason I was invited to appear was because Fred Ritchin, another guest on the show, had criticized us in his book “In Our Own Image” for altering the image.
The Today Show’s original plan was to feature SciTex but I showed them some spectacular examples of how Photoshop 1.0 worked and persuaded the producers to drop SciTex and to instead invite Russell Preston Brown, Adobe’s Senior Art Director.
It was 6:30 am and before the show the three of us were back stage in the green room. Russell and I were both really nervous, I was pacing up and down and driving Russell crazy. Seconds before we went on the air, a little light bulb went off in my head and I turned to Russell and asked if he had a copy of Photoshop on a disk. He said yes but assured me it was already installed on the Mac they had on set.
I asked him to give me the disks.
He said (nervously) “Rick what are you going to do?”
I said “Don’t worry, just give me the disks”.
At the very end of the interview, as Deborah Norville was trying to wrap up, I pulled out the disks making the point that “It used to cost a million dollars two years ago but now with Photoshop and a Mac anyone can now do this at home for $800.”
I heard from Adobe CEO John Warnock later that day that the entire staff of #Adobe watched the interview in their cafeteria and broke out into applause at the impromptu ad!