It’s exactly ten years since Lightroom first appeared. As is often my inclination, a scene from Monty Python comes to my mind. It goes along the lines of OK, apart from helping us manage our photos more efficiently, adjust them better and faster, get prints up on the wall, output pictures to the web, get them off and onto our mobile devices, precisely what have the Romans ever done for us? But of course, that’s the short version of the scene!
Take a look at former Photoshop product manager John Nack’s reminiscences. It’s interesting to see him writing of his “antipathy” towards Apple :
We never looked back, and over the following years, I loved writing about LR kicking Aperture’s ass among pros.
I recall those days very well as I had already written a couple of books and I had been invited to a private UK launch of Apple’s Aperture in November 2005. As a PC user, I remember being repelled by the cult-like whooping when they revealed each feature, and my eyes rolled when one presenter claimed “I’m not buying this for what it is now, but for what it will be at version 3”. But there was no doubt in my mind that it was significant.
For me, though, it wasn’t a matter of faith. Quite the contrary, for a year or more there had been rumours that Apple were working on a “Photoshop killer” and it was interesting to see how closely their diagnosis of photographers’ problems coincided with my own. From 2003-4 digital SLRs were really taking off, and we were managing pictures in one app, converting them one-by-one in another, then having to go into Photoshop to perform routine corrections, and struggling to adjust or output more than one picture at a time. Apple had rightly seen that managing photos was becoming as important as Photoshopping them, and they had also recognised that any solution would unite all tasks in a single application. Fortunately, Adobe weren’t too far behind.