Photo editing was discovered a long time ago, and probably shortly after photography itself. However, most of the people involve in photo editing today dedicate their efforts to the personal sphere. For example, different applications on Facebook offer several ways to manipulate images. Moreover, entire sites such as Picnik have been designed to provide these services in a fun and understandable format. This blog has been one of its users. This site truly combines appealing features without the complex navigation offer by software like Photoshop.
For us, historians, any of those tools may result enticing to develop our narratives. For example, in this case I used an emblematic image of Spain’s role during World War II. The meeting at the border town of Hendaye in 1940 between Hitler and Franco has haunted many historians ever since.
Not Franco spoke German neither Hitler did speak Spanish. Interestingly enough, a very selective group witnessed the encounter, and therefore it seems impossible to know what in the world they talked about. Did Franco, as the regime’s propaganda machine proclaimed after 1945, stopped the ambitions of Hitler of invading Spain in order to seize Gibraltar from the British? Did Franco, indeed, willingly offer his cooperation to the Fuhrer in exchange for colonial concessions in North Africa? Or What else?
Photoshop allows the intrepid historian to travel in time, record what really happened, and show the world the hidden truths of the meeting. After all, it may have not been that useful from the researcher point of view. Maybe it has contributed positively to the aesthetics of this blog.
Sadly, Google will shut down Picnik in April to focus on its other pet, Google+. But we’ll always have Photoshop at the media lab.