Feb 19, 2008

Where Were You on 02-19-1990?

As with many milestones in history, people tend to remember them in the context of their own life. Since we now know (or at least believe) that Photoshop 1.0 shipped on February 19, 1990 (and Lightroom shipped on the same day of February 2007), Jeff Schewe asked a few friends “where were you”? Here are their answers…

In the order in which they responded:


On 2/14/08 2:02 PM, “Christopher Sanderson” wrote:

Thanks to a FileMaker db, I can tell you with reasonable accuracy that Feb ’90, I was under a table shooting a wind-up mouse being chased by a ferocious but highly-trained Hollywood Attack Cat for a Ralston Purina TV spot for Cat Chow.

While the memory is somewhat dimmed, last year I was in a similar position… but under a saloon table on the Akademik Shokalsky with a video camera held above – assuming wideangle & auto-focus would catch Schewe or Seth doing something memorable before the tape ran out.


On 2/15/08 11:51 AM, “Seth Resnick” wrote:

This was very fun indeed. My first child Paige was born on 2/15/90 and I photographed her on that day and on 2/19/90. Images are attached. Notice that in the images shot on 2/19/90 she is surrounded with wine and ski equipment. Some things never change. As of today no baby yet but Jamie may be induced on the 19th.

This year on the birthday I may very well be in the delivery room with Jamie. Last year I believe I was swimming in 38 degree water hoping to get a satellite signal while you photographed me and made a comment on how I looked something like a martini……


On 2/16/08 4:57 PM, “Thomas Knoll” wrote:

In 1990 I was starting work on version 2.0 of Photoshop, working on a computer in the basement of my 1700 sq ft condo.

In 2007 I was working on finishing up Camera Raw 4.0, working on a computer in my office in my slightly larger house. ; )

Nothing ever changes…


On 2/16/08 5:27 PM, “John Paul Caponigro” wrote:

In 1990 I was writing for regional newspapers on art, directing an art cinema, and illustrating children’s books. Little did I know that the very sketches I made at that time, for my personal work, would ultimately become finished composites made with Photoshop the next year, when I became an artist in residence at Kodak’s Center for Creative Imaging. Some of these were later purchased by Princeton University’s permanent collection by renowned curator Peter Bunnell. Photoshop was a dream come true and a Godfather II moment.

In 2007 I was in Antarctica on deck watching Seth Resnick dive in the water from the shore. I could see Schewe was nearby but I was too far away to hear what either one of them said. I couldn’t spot Michael Reichmann, Stephen Johnson, Bill Atkinson, or Ian Lyons. During those two hours I made two of my signature images from the trip by staying put and watching. They were processed on location moments after exposure with Lightroom. All the work in my Antarctica 2007 gallery was processed solely with Lightroom. You can see the work posted in my online gallery at and find one of the two images above online in PDN’s Focus on Nature awards and in forthcoming museum exhibits at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem.

Curious parallels. Big changes.


On 2/16/08 6:04 PM, “Ian Lyons” wrote:

Schewe had one eye on Seth and the other on the penguins (I think he was worried that one would bite ). I was about 20 feet from Schewe and had Seth’s precious 1DsMKII and 300F2.8 slung round my neck. As for what they were saying, well, Chris decided it wasn’t for public consumption and inserted the penguin squawk into the video. Stephen and Bill were tucked round the corner snapping the Glacier in Neko Harbour. Chris kept real close to the defibrillator unit (he was due to take a dip right after Seth and probably wanted to make sure the battery was fully charged ). I don’t recall where Michael was, but like me he had no intention of wetting his feet .

Like JP all of my images were processed in Lightroom. You can see some of the them on the linked page (includes a Lr Flash Gallery)

The picture of the marching penguins was where Seth went for his swim


On 2/17/08 10:24 AM, “John Nack” wrote:

In 1990 I was a freshman in high school in Dubuque, IA (oh, the humanity!), fooling with an Apple IIgs and wishing my folks would someday buy a Mac. Probably the less said about that time, the better. :-)

In 2007 I was just back from a whirlwind European press tour in support of the upcoming Photoshop CS3. I found myself going nuts with the new panorama-stitching features, then exporting the high-res results via Zoomify, then (of course) blogging the results (


On 2/17/08 10:51 AM, “Michael Reichmann” wrote:

In 1990 I was traveling in Asia working to build a new type of telecom business based on voice over IP. As I write this I am once again in Asia, though this time on a speaking tour about photography.

In 2007 I was leading an Antarctic photographic expedition and using Lightroom of course.


On 2/17/08 11:34 AM, “Andrew Rodney” wrote:

In 1990, I was an advertising and annual report photographer in LA. I recall, walking into an Egghead computer store and saw a Mac II with a 13″ color display and fell in love. I wanted one but my wife wanted to know why the Mac SE-30 I had wasn’t good enough. Since I had just seen a demo of Photoshop, that became my excuse to buy a new system: Mac IIci, I think 8mb of ram and that lovely 13″ display. Of course, Photoshop 1.0.7. I didn’t at the time buy ColorStudio thankfully! But I recall the rivalry.

In 2007, I was not on a trip in the Antarctica but home in beautiful Santa Fe. I really don’t recall what I did on Lightroom’s Birthday although I see a note in my calendar that I had a new garbage disposal installed. Seriously, could I make that up? There was a pretty good possibility that I was working in Lightroom that day.


On 2/17/08 2:11 PM, “Sean McCormack” wrote:

1990? I would’ve been studying for my 2nd year Michaelmas exams in Engineering in Trinity College Dublin. 2nd year had different courses in each semester, so the exams were the full marks for the term in 4 courses. With 45 hour lecture weeks and 13 courses, it was a tough year. Computer wise I had nothing but the college computer systems available to me. I actually can’t remember the model of Mac, but it was the tiny B&W screen all in one! VAX, Gmac and Unix systems were the order of the day. I used Quark for society flyers, and that was the most I did with Mac, besides games! My first computer was actually an Atari 1040STE (shhh!) in 91 or 92..

2007, when Lightroom was released, I was in bed! Well it would’ve been 7am or so here! I had loads of blog posts around then, including a video on updating the Library from the Betas… It was both an exciting and a tough time on the users forums. Definitely an exciting time after all the pushing testing and suggesting. LR1.0 was quite mature for a V1.0 product, but not without flaws. It is going from strength to strength though. I try other workflows from time to time, but nothing really touches it.


On 2/17/08 2:42 PM, “Scott Kelby” wrote:

Here’s a little “Where I was when it launched” thingy:

The day Lightroom shipped, I was teaching at a landscape photography workshop in Yosemite National Park (as a guest instructor at the Digital Landscape Workshop Series), and the class I was teaching was (you guessed it)—-Lightroom. It was still in Beta at the time (well, it was in Beta for one day after my class), and I filmed a little video segment from the Yosemite Workshop the night before the release, and I uploaded the video to Adobe that night—just in time to be aired during the Lightroom Launch Party.

At the end of the video clip, I turned to my class said (on camera), “So, what do you guys think of Lightroom?” and the class went crazy, cheering like the Rolling Stones had just walked in the room (which gives you some idea of how old we all are).


On 2/18/08 9:13 AM, “Tom Hogarty” wrote:

In 1990 I was a high school freshman in Hopewell Junction, NY. I was still three years away from purchasing my first ‘real’ camera and my computer experience was limited to Basic programming on a DOS machine. (Still just toying with the blue screen of WordPerfect and the lovely UI of Lotus 123)

In 2007, I was up late on February 18th monitoring the release of Lightroom 1.0 at 9:01pm from home in San Mateo, CA. After ensuring that the release was successfully out the door it was time to move on to Lightroom 1.1 efforts.


On 2/18/08 10:55 AM, “Troy Gaul” wrote:

February 19, 1990 — The Soviet Union had recently collapsed, Best Picture Academy award-winner Driving Miss Daisy was leading the box office, and Paula Abdul was at the top of the Billboard charts with Opposites Attract…


In 1990 I was a freshman at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa (Nack makes me feel old). I wouldn’t start working on Color It! at MicroFrontier, my first real Mac programming job, until a year later.

Melissa was a freshman at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa (which happens to be 20 miles from the Iowa town where I grew up).

On the 19th, Melissa had just returned to Decorah from a trip she took to Des Moines with her friend Debbie for the weekend. During this trip Melissa and I met for the first time. She and Debbie came over to my dorm room, accompanying my friend Chris, who was Debbie’s boyfriend at the time (and is her husband now). We talked for a few hours that evening, and I made a special trip over to Chris’ dorm the next morning hoping to see her again, where I was able to say goodbye as they left for the bus. We started dating that summer.

In 2007, Melissa was taking a well-deserved week off from work. I was at work as usual. It was a fairly light day as I only sent three e-mails and made two check-ins, including a little work on a database optimizer for Lightroom (which was not shipped — instead we put the feature into the Catalog Info window for 1.1).


On 2/18/08 12:44 PM, “Kevin Connor” wrote:

In February of 1990 I was actually doing administrative temp work while trying to figure out how to translate my recently acquired liberal arts degree into a meaningful career. If only I had discovered Photoshop upon its initial launch, perhaps I would have gotten on track a bit sooner!

As for February 19, 2007, I don’t recall my specific activities for the day, but I do remember that I was incredibly excited about finally shipping Lightroom, née Shadowland, as a 1.0 product. I simply can’t overstate how much better February 19, 2007 was for me, compared to February 19, 1990.


On 2/18/08 12:59 PM, “Peter Merrill” wrote:

In 02-19-90 I was working on the Windows version of Harvard graphics for Software Publishing. Skills and techniques I developed allowed me to jump start the Windows version of Photoshop.

On 02-19-07 I was kicking myself for not joining the LR team after Mark Hamburg asked me to help Seetha with the Windows version when Aperture shipped. I felt I couldn’t leave Acrobat given what was at stake with it meeting the schedule.


On 2/18/08 11:42 PM, “Stephen Johnson” wrote:

On Feb 19, 1990 I was working at home trading off between a book project and caring for my new two month old daughter Sara, now 18. Part of the photo play before and after her birth was my Kodak XL-6500 Dye-sub printer with its video frame capture and a new photo program, BarneyScan XP, I had been using on my Great Central Valley book project. Of course, that same program was also licensed to Adobe and renamed Photoshop for its February 1990 shipping.

Zoom forward to February 2007 and I was in Antarctica, moving slowly through coastal waterways, watching gentle sunsets amid graying skies, humpback whales playing with our ship and penguins swimming everywhere. We visited the most amazing array of ice form, well beyond imagination in a place called Pleneau Bay, but commonly referred to as the Iceberg Graveyard. I preferred to think it as a wonderland of spires, cathedrals and shrines. Lightroom was my means our seeing what I had photographed, quickly access success, and heading back out on deck to take in yet more.


On 2/19/08 1:26 AM, “Zalman Stern” wrote:

February 19th, 1990 I was in Pittsburgh, PA working for a research lab at Carnegie Mellon on a port of the Mach operating system to IBM’s RISCSystem/6000 POWER architecture hardware. While largely unremarkable in the history of computing, this was the qualification that led me to working on Photoshop when Apple chose PowerPC as the CPU architecture after the 68k. (The boot screen featured a graphic of the little green guy from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy with the cover text “Don’t Panic.” Today of course I would use a lolcat photo.)

February 19th, 2007, I was en route back from South Lake Tahoe where I’d gotten in some quick practice skiing before taking off for Big Sky, Montana for an annual triathlon like contest comprised of the Moose Slalom, Lightning Camera Raw bug fixing, and creative badgering of Photoshop engineering managers. (

On 2/19/08 9:41 AM, “Mark Hamburg” wrote:

02-19-1990: I was at Ashton*Tate working on FullWrite Professional. Ashton*Tate had been in meltdown for a while and I had already started interviewing other places including Adobe where the interview reportedly went well, but they could not figure out what to do with me and hence didn’t follow up.

02-19-2003: The Shadowland (AKA Lightroom) project was slowly ramping up at this point. We were migrating into a more workflow oriented view of things, but still had a lot of emphasis in the discussions on providing a new raster editing environment.

02-19-2007: I was organizing a celebratory lunch at the Poor House Bistro in San Jose, responding to questions from John Nack about why one would want to convert from JPEG to DNG (generally one wouldn’t but it is a way to slip things through some raw processors), and discussing how people should decide between Bridge and Lightroom.

On 2/19/08 10:05 AM, “John Paul Caponigro” wrote:

So … (The “so” is an inside joke.)

Your metadata forces me to rewrite my version of reality. Is history made of metadata, memory, or consensus?
The answer is yes.

On February 19th, 2007 I wasn’t in Neko Harbor. I was in a zodiac most of the day with Seth Resnick, Jeff Schewe, Stephen Johnson, Bill Atkinson, Ian Lyons, Michael Reichmann, Chris Sanderson, Kevin Raber, and Bob (our driver, a glaciologist). This was the only time we were all in a zodiac together. Chris Sanderson was filming for the Luminous Landscape video journal and to celebrate the birth of Lightroom, which we followed up on at the end of the day on board the Professor Multanovskiy. In Plenneau Bay, the “iceberg graveyard”, we saw icebergs that looked like viking ships and greco-roman temples. We floated inside an ice canyon barely large enough to fit our boat and into a pool of water barely deep enough to float our boat. We saw a lot of leopard seals. Later that day, on the edge of the open ocean, we had a close encounter with a leopard seal. Bob cautioned us not to put our hands over the edge of the boat, as the last thing any of us wanted was to see one of us get bitten or dragged off the boat by a 1200 predator with a mouth full of razors. Seth had to get the shot. And he did! He put his camera at the waterline a second before the seal bit our boat. (The image has delighted many, including my six year old son and his class mates.) The boat wasn’t punctured, but large bite marks were found on its surface when we returned. Our driver turned the boat around immediately. That was the day I knew that Bob knew exactly where the line was. I’m still not convinced that Seth does. I suspect he doesn’t, but he rarely gets hurt. Nevermind the shots he gets, he has amazing experiences. And he laughs all the way!

Have an amazing experience today!


As for Jeff Schewe, he can’t be absolutely sure what he was doing but the shot below was done about the 17 or 18th of February, 1990 (we suppose it could have been delivered on that Monday).


And no, no Photoshop was involved (Jeff wouldn’t get Photoshop until after August 16th, 1992–read this article to see his first Photoshop job–it was garbage, really!).

No, this shot was a straight multiple exposure, one for the food and one to burn in the “spot lights”. And yes, it would have been A LOT EASIER to have done in Photoshop!

To see what Jeff was doing on February 19th, 2007 check this web page.

So, do you remember what you were doing on the day that Photoshop 1.0 or Lightroom 1.0 shipped? If you do, post a comment and tell us your story…

7 Responses to “Where Were You on 02-19-1990?”

  1. Greg Barnett Says:

    1990… I was the operations manager for the School of Photography at RIT. I distinctly remember getting our first copies of Photoshop and thinking this is going to change everything… We were already struggling with the concept of bringing “digital imaging” into our curriculum. And if I remember correctly, we had some of Canon’s first “still video” cameras, the forefather’s of today’s digital cameras. Also remember fighting for budget (Feb. is budget season) to get our first computer lab set up in the photo school.

    2007… Still at RIT, now directing operations for College of Imaging Arts & Sciences (and still fighting for budget!). Looking back at my calendar, the 19th was a quiet day and we’d had Lightroom installed in some of our labs (now up to over 900 workstations) since the public beta launch. We couldn’t make the switch to V1 until a couple of weeks later when school was on break.

    In the intervening years, photographic education has been transformed by the shift to digital. By the end of this school year, we’ll only have ~30 darkrooms left in active service, down from over 190 back in the day when Jeff was roaming our halls… In those days we used to mix over 35,000 gallons of chemistry per year! Now we probably use that many ink cartridges in a year… ;-)

  2. DonRicklin Says:

    On that date I and my Buddies from around the world, Sid Jervis, Richard Earney, Lee Jay Fingersh, Sean McCormack, Geoff the Kiwi and others were busy manning the Adobe Lightroom User to User Forum, so at least some one was there to answer questions and start to build a FAQ which is still at Sid’s site, though somewhat dated, now. WE spent a long 24 hours helping new LR enthusiasts with the first blush/rush of this bright growing Application!

    Don Ricklin

  3. DonRicklin Says:

    Sorry, my misread. I’m thinking one Year ago, with Lightroom! PS came later for me! :)


  4. Rob Sylvan Says:

    Feb 19, 1990, I was “haze gray and underway” somewhere in the Atlantic. Photoshop was not on the radar (although I was working on Radar at the time)!

    Feb 19, 2007, NAPP officially started supporting Lightroom question on the member Help Desk and I happily began answering them. :-)

  5. Scott Martin Says:

    In 1990 I was probably with one of two good friends, one of which had a drum scanner and the other a flatbed both with BarneyScan and later Photoshop 1. We spent way too much time on a Mac II (or was it a Mac IIx that year?) scanning everything we could find and doing the most absurd things we could think of to them, not all of which were legal (I was underage at the time). For myself with my own images the question was often “What I can do that’s beautiful, new and unique?” which started me down a long road…

    I just glanced at my schedule and on 2-19-2007 I was on location in a photography studio training a photographer on Lightroom as it turns out.

  6. Scott Byer Says:

    I had been at Adobe in 1990 for a year and a half at that point. We had recently just finished up Adobe Type Manager for the Macintosh. I remember seeing BarneyScan in the halls, asking what it was about.

    As for 2007, why, working on Photoshop CS3.

  7. marcdaniels Says:

    One month after Photoshop debuted I quite my 11-year, corporate, art direction position, bought my first camera, and traveled the world with a famous recording artist. I’ve been in heaven ever since. :-)

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