Pixels, and the first glimmerings of a digital future

By the early 1980s, "home" computers that had a graphics capability (like the BBC micro model shown here) began to get us used to thinking in terms of pixels, and the word "digital" began to be heard more and more, not least in relation to music deployed on the then-new compact disc format.

With all this talk of digitising graphics and audio, as an experiment I took a photographic print of my cat, grabbed a pencil, and laboriously traced the image onto a sheet of graph paper, making a decision for each square whether it would be filled or not according to the preponderance of dark versus light tones, and ended up with a 36 by 36-pixel bitmap of sorts. If you stood 50 metres away from it and squinted it even looked something like the original photo! However, mainstream digital photography still lay more than a decade away in the future.