Photoshop and I go back a ways . . .

Recently, a friend was talking to me about her desire to learn more about Adobe Photoshop.

Now, in case you did not know, when you hear someone say, "Oh, that picture was photoshopped," it means it was altered or manipulated.  There is an actual product made by Adobe - Photoshop - but like the brand name Xerox, it has become a verb to mean changing an image, whether the person uses the program Photoshop or something else.

Most photographers use two programs:  Lightroom and Photoshop, both made by Adobe.  For many, basic editing is done in Lightroom and advanced retouching is done in Photoshop.  But Photoshop is a very robust and sophisticated program, and much more can be done than reducing eyebags on a person's face.

Back to my friend.  She asked me when I first started using Photoshop.  I thought about it, and realized that I started back in 2004, when I had, as a hobby, digital scrapbooking.

Don't ask me to run with scissors or glue something on evenly.  I am not "crafty" as some people are.  But with Photoshop, I could make mistakes in one second and undo them in the next.  It was liberating for a frustrated artist.

I was thinking about those early scrapbook pages, and how they illustrated my family's history.  Have a look at some of them.

My maternal grandmother, Wanda Koretzky, told me a story of when she was a girl and the Spanish influenza was on a rampage.  She remembered stepping onto her porch of the family home in Michigan, and seeing white sheets hung out to indicate sickness in the home, billowing in the breeze.  She told me, "I was so afraid - I thought we would all die."  As I recall, her father and two of her brothers developed the flu but survived.  That is a picture of her around that time.

My paternal great-grandparents, Henry and Lizzie Sears, were the estate manager and lady's maid, respectively, for Lizzie Borden in Fall River, Massachusetts.  You may recall that Lizzie Borden was famous for being arrested and tried for the brutal axe murder of her parents.  Lizzie was acquitted and after the death of her sister, inherited all the family fortuine.  She bought herself an estate and hired my grandparents.  Their daughter, my paternal grandmother, Anna Martin, told me stories of how she and her friends would by treated by Miss Lizzie to lemonade and cookies on the porch.  Grandpa Sears always maintained Lizzie Borden was guilty - I wonder if in her last days, she confided in her two servants what happened that day back on August 4, 1894.  Look at Grandpa Sears - he had a pet raccoon!

I made this one to honor my father, Francis Xavier Martin, one of the original Darby's Rangers in WWII.  He was in three invasions:  Normandy, Anzio, and Sicily.  He won two Silver Stars and three Bronze Stars.  And the caption says it all:  "Frank Martin was a 19-year-old Army Ranger when he went ashore on Omaha Beach that morning [June 6, 1944].  He was still 19 years old at the end of the day, but he had become a man."  I miss you, Daddy.  Rangers lead the way!

My maternal grandfather, Michael Koretzky, was a young soldier in the tsarist army when the Russian Revolution occurred in 1917.  He told me this story (to be delivered in a thick Polish accent):  "Vun day, tsar come, review troops.  He told me, 'Mike, you good solider - I give you medal.'  Then goddamn Bolsheviki come, kill star, and I get no medal!"  The picture of him between Tsar Nicolas II and Vladimir Lenin (the man who led the revolution) came from Grandpa's passport when he migrated to the United States in 1921; the picture in the corner is from his later years.

A tribute to my parents, Dorothy and Frank Martin, and how they met.  My mom was throwing a New Year's Eve party in 1955 and one of her friends brought his friend, Frank.  My mother discovered my father and another female guest behaving "rudely" behind the oil tank in the basement - so she threw him out on his ear and let him know that type of conduct was not going to happen in her parents' home.  He showed up the next day, January 1, 1956, with flowers and an apology.  They were married November 17, 1956, and remained so until my Dads death in 1995.

I am sure your family has its stories.  What are you doing to preserve them?