With July seeming to be the month of great declarations of independence, (America's 4th of July, and France's Bastille Day on the 14th), I got the inspiration to declare my own personal independence from Adobe Photoshop and its new move into the cloud. So, I have declared that I will forego the use of Photoshop and Bridge on both my laptop and desktop Macs for a year. I've removed them from my docks, though they will remain in my apps folder if I decide after the year is over to make use of them.
I have no desire to go into the cloud with updates to Photoshop, so my current versions will be all I have in the future. I think Adobe would have done better to follow Apple's example and offer Photoshop as a downloadable app, like Aperture, than to make it a subscription service. That being said, I'm looking into powerful alternatives to Adobe's 800-pound gorilla of an imaging program.
One program in particular that has caught my attention is Pixelmator which is available in Apple's App Store. Founded in 2007, Apple named Pixelmator "Mac App Store App Of The Year" in 2011. The recent release of the 2.2 Blueberry version has had an astonishing 500,000 downloads in just a single week! It has been described as what Photoshop would be if it was designed by Apple. All that this means, of course, is that Pixelmator is a Mac only application. So what do I say to friends and students on Windows computers? Get a Mac! "But, but, I love Windows and can do x, Y and z on it! I've invested so much in Windows software, and I don't want/like Macs!" "Get a Mac", I say, it's one of my mantras.
If you are serious about creating images and graphics works, Macs are the gold standard. And ever since Apple made it possible to run Windows software and OS on its Macs, I see no reason NOT to get a Mac. OK, so, get on the platform, and a whole world of possibilities opens up for the creative soul. The Mac App Store alone is an amazing source of incredible software, both from third-party developers, as well as Apple's own brilliant creative teams.
So can a pro photographer go a year without Photoshop? Of course, there are probably more NOT using it, than are. Jay Maisel is one example of a pro's pro who doesn't even have it on his computer, and those who work for him only use it to print his work, not to add or take away anything he doesn't capture in camera. The question for me, as a photographer who explores the capabilities and malleability of images, is can intense creativity be achieved outside the Photoshop or Adobe sphere?
I'm certain it can, and lest you think I'm totally anti-Adobe, I have many friends in and around Adobe, that make a living teaching its capabilities. I wish them all great success in what they do. I truly value their friendships. For myself though, I like to think like a maverick. I'll look for solutions and creative inspiration where there is little or no path. It comes down to my words-to-live-by mantra:
"Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the ancient ones; seek what they sought" ~ Basho