It’s September which means another generation of Apple iPhones. This year, the iPhone XS (pronounced “ten ess”) adds a slightly larger sensor plus significantly more computing power via the A12 Bionic Chip to enhance the phone’s image signal processing.
The Wellcome Trust is the world’s second largest charitable trust with an endowment of approximately £23.2 billion (~USD$30 billion). For the past 20 years, it has produced a photo contest called the Wellcome Image Awards, and this year, it rebranded the contest as the Wellcome Photography Prize.
The Prize is free to enter, and images can be submitted into one of four categories. Each category winner receives £1,250 while the overall winner receives a prize of £15,000 (~USD$19,000). Furthermore, the winners and shortlist entries will be displayed at the Lethaby Gallery of the University of the Arts London.
While a university student, author Shubnum Khan signed a model release in exchange for professional portraits as a part of a project by photographer XX billed as “The 100 Faces Shoot.” Unbeknownst to her at the time, the photographer started licensing the images as stock photography, and Khan’s visage started to appear in advertisements around the world selling everything from McDonald’s hamburgers to hyper pigmentation cream to management course materials.
In the face of breaking news, smartphones have made everyone a frontline reporter, and social media has allowed users to become self-publishers. However, with a rare exceptions, most news content still relies on traditional media for mass distribution. Junior producers at large news gathering organizations often attempt to obtain licensing rights directly from individuals via social media for photo and video that might not be available through wire services like AP, Reuters and AFP.
Over the weekend, Ellicott City, Maryland was pummeled by massive rainfall, which triggered devastating flash floods through the historic district of town. Resident Max Robinson was trapped in an apartment building near Main St and Maryland Ave when he started documenting what transpired on Twitter.
As a kid who grew up with a shelf filled with yellow spines, I can attest to the rhythm and general predictability of a National Geographic cover. With few exceptions (most notably those holographic covers from the 1980s), cover photography from the 1970s, 80s and 90s followed a familiar pattern of a far away place, strange creature, or “exotic” face in saturated color. We were armchair explorers living vicariously through the eyes of those famous photographers – Indiana Joneses with a camera.
In a break from the past, World Press Photo (WPP) released the short list of finalists in advance of naming the winners to their annual contest – arguably the most prestigious in all of photojournalism.1 The photos are remarkable for their composition, exposure and intimacy. But judging by the subject matter one might surmise that we’re living in a hellish dystopia, or that the jury believes pain and suffering is the most valid form of photojournalism.
It’s not surprising when camera companies hire photographers to pitch their products. But photographers have also been enlisted to sell other types of products; the result of Madison Avenue trying to romanticize the occupation, even though the reality often fails to meet the expectation. Nowadays photographers are more likely to spend the majority of their time sitting at a desk in post processing, or trying to collect on invoices that are 6 months past due.
Nevertheless, we’ve seen a number of companies in a variety of industries employ photographers in their ad campaigns in the past few years, spanning the gamut from the old living icons to the newest generation of light chasers.
This week, Google’s AlphaGo program beat the world’s best Go player, Ke Jie, in 2 straight games in a best of 5 series. Go is considered to be the world’s hardest board game, and some AI experts didn’t think that a machine would be able to best humans for another decade.
In the area of photography, companies like Google have already introduced various aspects of machine learning allowing users to search for photos by keyword without having ever entered keywords. Combined with other features like facial recognition give the user surprisingly accurate and useful results. It’s clear that AI has reached a powerful inflection point.
Ok, we get it. You shot it with your phone. You brought your DSLR, but you fell into a fountain and waterlogged all your gear. The repair estimate was nearly $2000, except you went to Thailand and got it fixed for $120. Good thing you had your iPhone. The quality was so good that your client, a barber named Steve who has never paid for photography, couldn’t tell the difference.
When your friend challenged you to take a night shot with your phone, you muttered, “bring it on” to yourself, then built an app because your company tells you to spend 10% of your time eating for free in the cafeteria. Then you composited 487 photos and used AI, AR, VR, ILC, and THC to get a photo that you could’ve taken with your DSLR, which you didn’t have because you tripped and broke your lens.