Walmart Supermarket Refuses to hand over Photos of Couple’s Newborn Baby

An ASDA supermarket in the UK (who are owned by Walmart) caused quite a stir this month when staff refused to hand over photographs of a parent’s newborn baby, even though she was one of the people in the pictures. The reason? “They look too professional”

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Lauren Breed, 28 visited the ASDA store in Albans Road, Watford to print the pictures she had taken by family friend Katrina Matthews. It wasn’t until after the photo lab had done the printing that they broke the news to the doting mother. Lauren was told that unless she could prove she owned copyright she was not going to be given the photographs. Continue reading

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How Microsoft made the Windows 10 Desktop Photograph

Bliss is widely accepted to be the most ubiquitous photograph to have ever graced our computer screens, simply because it was the flagship desktop wall paper that came with Windows XP. The image itself was a wonderfully evocative scene that inspired many interpretations, parodies and is still discussed academically today. One of the most common misconceptions is that it was CGI, or at best a very heavily edited photograph, however as the man who took the snapshot, Chuck O’Rear explained, it was little more than a medium format frame of some vineyards on film that Bill Gates bought the full rights to.

For Windows 10, we’re treated to this:

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A highly stylised, light show that looks like a scene straight out of Tron Legacy. It’s a sanitised, far too perfect, completely constructed image that is as far away from Bliss as you can get. Despite still championing a photographer to produce the piece, the web is less than impressed. Continue reading

NASA Releases Stunning Treble Crescent Moons of Saturn

Have you ever heard how the location of a photograph can automatically give you the WOW factor? Well in Cassini’s case, the far flung spacecraft that’s been exploring Saturn for the best part of a decade has just that. It is absolutely relentless at sending back images home across 80 minutes of Space. Take a look at this universally stunning abstract NASA released on June 22nd.

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Although the image speaks for itself, NASA as usual gives some great scientific details about the supposed conjunction occurring:

The three moons shown here — Titan (3,200 miles or 5,150 kilometers across), Mimas (246 miles or 396 kilometers across), and Rhea (949 miles or 1,527 kilometers across) — show marked contrasts. Titan, the largest moon in this image, appears fuzzy because we only see its cloud layers. And because Titan’s atmosphere refracts light around the moon, its crescent “wraps” just a little further around the moon than it would on an airless body. Rhea (upper left) appears rough because its icy surface is heavily cratered. And a close inspection of Mimas (center bottom), though difficult to see at this scale, shows surface irregularities due to its own violent history.

Cassini is no stranger to mixing science and art. Four years ago Chris Abbas compiled all of the travelling photographic Spacecraft into a masterful time lapse. It’s certainly worth watching again.


Via 500PX ISO. Image credit NASA.

FLIR ONE: Take InfraRed, Heat sensitive Photos on your Phone

Introducing the hotly anticipated FLIR ONE for smartphones. A small adapter that plugs into your lightning connector (or alternative) to produce an Infra Red image. At just $249 in the US and £199 in the UK, you can now easily afford to experiment with non-visible wavelength light using your phone.

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HEY, MY SAUSAGES ARE COOKED, YAY.

FLIR, who’ve been making IR cameras for decades have only recently joined the smartphone accessory market, however they’re already making an impact. Continue reading

Illustrator Merges Fashion Sketches and Real Life in Series of Photographs

Now this is an idea worth exploring. Artist & fashion illustrator Shamekh Bluwi has been cutting out holes in some of his work to allow the scene behind to ‘paint’ the sketches. He’s been sharing the creative idea through a series of photographs on his Instagram account.

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We’ve seen similar work before, most notably FILMography the New York Movie Scenes blog by Christopher Maloney. However instead of lining up old movie scenes with the surrounding architecture, or indeed merging the past and present using old photographs, Shamekh envelopes the scene to evoke real world scenes on his sketches. Continue reading

Facebook has an Algorithm called DEEPFACE that can recognise the Back of your Head in Photos.

It’s increasingly apparent that artificial intelligence’s inevitable ascension as the dominant species on our planet (and beyond) will not come as some have predicted in an instant, but a slow, invisible growth. The latest advancement in AI comes in the subdued revelation by Facebook that it now has an algorithm that can tell us all apart from the back of our heads. The announcement of DEEPFACE came and went mostly unnoticed.

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The final algorithm was revealed and demonstrated by Facebook last week at the Boston CVPR 2015 conference. It’s been reported that Yann LeCun, head of Facebook’s artificial intelligence division says it worked with an 83% success rate after reviewing 60,000 public photographs of 2000 people from Flickr and running them through a sophisticated neural network. This figure rises significantly if a frontal face is recognised to 93.4%, making it possibly as accurate as a human brain.

The algorithm works quite simply by recognising silhouettes, clothes, hair colour and other distinguishable features that a person may be identified by and comparing them with other photographs. LeCun states that it easily recognises Mark Zuckerberg because he’s always wearing the same grey T shirt.

Thankfully, Yann LeCun recognises the romp to stardom AI is currently having and warns we must keep a watchful eye:

There is little doubt that future progress in computer vision will require breakthroughs in unsupervised learning, particularly for video understanding, But what principles should unsupervised learning be based on?

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Last year we reported on how the ‘Wobble in a Handheld Video can be as Unique as a Fingerprint‘ and perhaps this will involve further implementations for Deepface.

I for one would prefer not to be recognised by my behind, however if this is the future our society holds it’ll spur me on to dress better and certainly lose a few pounds to confuse those pesky Facebook neural networks.


via New Scientist.

Featured Photographer: Emily Scaife and the Cosmic Crispies

One look around Emily Scaife’s website is all it takes to see that this photographer is full of great ideas. Scaife uses photography, film making and illustration in her work and she has an extraordinary skill in turning the seemingly mundane into a visual delight, creating optical illusions by isolating her subject matter through either a macro lens, microscope or scanner and tricking us into thinking we’re looking at something entirely different. My favourite of these series are the ‘Cosmic Crispies‘. Scaife has given them the byline ‘Meteorological breakfast’ and they certainly make a wonderful feast for the eyes:

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By photographing them in black and white against a pitch black background she makes them snap, crackle and pop in our brains as little asteroids (we’ve seen this type of imagery coming back from NASA – they’re not cheating and using Rice Crispies too are they?!). They are fascinating to look at and compare, who’d have thought each Crispie would be so different?

Here are some more from the series: Continue reading

A Photographer’s Open Response to Taylor Swift’s Rant Against Apple.

Dear Taylor Swift, I have read your open letter to Apple where you give your reasons for refusing to allow your album ‘1989′ to be included on their forthcoming Apple Music streaming service. (For reference: http://taylorswift.tumblr.com/post/122071902085/to-apple-love-taylor) Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 15.50.42 I applaud it. It’s great to have someone with a huge following standing up for the rights of creative people and making a stand against the corporate behemoths who have so much power they Continue reading

Moronic Family Stand by Photographer’s Decision to Take THIS Photo.

What is fast becoming the most idiotic cliche a photographer and his or her subjects can take part in has earned this particular family an Internet backlash it (probably) deserves.

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CBS 58 news channel reports that despite receiving criticism from the Globe and its creepy uncle, they are not sorry for what they did and would prefer to just get on with their lives. Despite not having the common sense to realise that staging photographs on train tracks is an utterly selfish and thoughtless act they had no idea it was illegal. Continue reading

A Photograph of Vincent Van Gogh. An Incredible Discovery!

This will go down as one of the greatest and most important photographic discoveries of the century. It doesn’t look like much, but the face third from the left is none other than that of Vincent Van Gogh attending an outdoor dinner party on a cold December in 1887. It’s significance? It’s the only photographic image ever to have been taken of the artist.

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The extraordinary find was made by a pair of historians Continue reading