Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mik Lamming's Digital Darkroom

In the mid-eighties the world of electronic imaging was still rarified. Researchers were pushing the state of the art on very expensive computers and vying to get their papers into SIGGRAPH. Some years earlier, IBM's monochrome Selectric typewriter and the monochrome Xerox copier had banned color from the office, with the demise of color ribbons (black and red, sometimes blue too) and multicolor mimeographs.

Meanwhile, at PARC, Mik Lamming thought he could bring back color, with imaging on top, to the office. He developed an inexpensive and easy to use hardware system called Snip Snap and color image editing software called Digital Darkroom.

Blinded by the success of the Memorywriter typewriter and still hurting from the fumbled attempt to invent the office computer market, Xerox decided to lock Mik's technology into a drawer and keep it a trade secret. By 1988 the Macintosh and Photoshop made the trade secret a moot point. Mik packed for England and made a public video on his work. Enjoy!

My apologies for the lousy quality, I only had a VHS copy.