Image credit: John Knoll

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When someone mentions “iconic” images in the world of photography, you probably think of something like the shot of Muhammad Ali standing over Sonny Liston after a first-round knockout, or Tank Man. But what about “Jennifer in Paradise”?

If the name doesn’t ring a bell, don’t sweat it, but chances are good you’ve seen this photo more than once—after all, it is the very first Photoshop image:

Jennifer in Paradise

The photo was taken by John Knoll on a secluded beach in Bora Bora in 1987; but what Knoll probably initially considered a very private shot of his then-girlfriend now-wife lounging topless on a beach has turned into one of the most viewed and edited photos in the world thanks to his brother Thomas Knoll and a little program he was working on called Photoshop.

Jennifer in Paradise became Photoshop’s first color test image, and it was used again and again when John and Thomas needed to demonstrate the software.

About a year ago, Gordon Comstock wrote a fascinating think piece on the importance of this image in The Guardian. In it, he writes that Knoll’s image, “could be as central to the modern visual vernacular as Eadweard Muybridge’s shots of galloping horses or the first use of perspective.”

Digital images, writes Comstock, were rare when the brothers were ready to start demoing this groundbreaking software. By chance, a print of this photo was all John had with him when they got access to a flatbed scanner. “In this way, Jennifer in Paradise became the first colour image used to demonstrate the software they had started to call Photoshop.”

You can (and definitely should) read the full story behind how this image became so iconic at The Guardian.