“Sorry, I just wanted a pretty photo” says photographer whose photo bricked thousands of Android phones

Jun 11, 2020

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

“Sorry, I just wanted a pretty photo” says photographer whose photo bricked thousands of Android phones

Jun 11, 2020

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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I don’t remember that a sunset photo has ever caused such a stir like it did earlier this month. The photo bricked phones of hundreds, if not thousands Android users who used it as a wallpaper. But it wasn’t done on purpose. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Scientist and photographer Gaurav Agrawal just wanted to capture a gorgeous last minute sunset. When he edited the photo and published it on Flickr, he didn’t even dream what mess it would cause.

It stated when Ice universe tweeted the photo, warning people not to set it as wallpaper. According to multiple reports, the photo bricked certain Google Pixel and Samsung phones, as well as OnePlus, Nokia, and Xiaomi. It affected phones that use Android 10, making the screen turn on and off constantly. There was no help other than factory reset to have the phone back to normal.

But Guarav had nothing like this in mind when taking the photo. In the photo’s description, he writes that the sunset surprised him considering that it was a very cludy day. “I was looking to ‘document’ that I was there and didn’t expect any magical light whatsoever,” he explains. “It all changed in the last few minutes of sunset.” Guarav almost packed his gear when he saw the clouds clear out at the horizon. It was “just enough for the sun to peak out and produce these remarkable colors!”

When he edited the photo in Lightroom, Guarav exported it using an extra-wide HDR color space to preserve more color information. However, phones that use Android 10 are unable to display this color space, which caused them to crash.

Gaurav’s photos have been published on National geographic and he has over 10,500 followers on Flickr. So, someone apparently downloaded his photo and set it as a wallpaper, only to discover that it would cause it to crash. And from there on, the story about the “cursed image” spread like wildfire.

“I hoped my photograph would have gone ‘viral’ for a good reason, but maybe that’s for another time,” Guarav told the BBC. “I’m going to use another format from now on,” he added.

You might wonder if this image caused a problem on its maker’s phone too. Well, the answer is no. “I have an iPhone, and my wallpaper is always a photo of my wife,” the photographer told the BBC.

Anyways, while the fix is likely coming soon, I suggest that you don’t download the photo and use it as a wallpaper. However, do visit Guarav’s Flickr and enjoy plenty of beautiful images. It’s perfectly safe, I promise!

[via Gizmodo]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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7 responses to ““Sorry, I just wanted a pretty photo” says photographer whose photo bricked thousands of Android phones”

  1. John M Fuller Avatar
    John M Fuller

    Sounds like it could also be a problem with s***ty software from Samsung.

  2. Adam Chaffins Avatar
    Adam Chaffins

    It’s a jpeg though… Even if it had hdr toning, the jpeg format would have flattened it. Was this a png file or tiff?

  3. Shachar Weis Avatar
    Shachar Weis

    It’s a bug in Google’s color engine. Floating point rounding problem. This photo just happens to have just the right set of pixels to trigger that bug.

  4. Rafał Grzesiuk Avatar
    Rafał Grzesiuk

    A short explanation of what really happened
    https://youtu.be/iXKvwPjCGnY?t=403

    1. Ted Vitale Avatar
      Ted Vitale

      Rafał Grzesiuk thanks for posting this. I wish DIYPhotgraphy would have at least mentioned the reason WHY this photo was bricking phones.

      1. pincherio Avatar
        pincherio

        “When he edited the photo in Lightroom, Guarav exported it using an
        extra-wide HDR color space to preserve more color information. However,
        phones that use Android 10 are unable to display this color space, which
        caused them to crash.” – taken from the article

      2. Joe Purvis Avatar
        Joe Purvis

        Read the words