Pascal commits …
After 600 episodes, you may wonder what keeps us going. And you may have that overwhelming feeling that our photography is so vastly superior to the rest of the world’s that it’s almost painful to step out of DS and into … well, anywhere else, really! You’re right, of course, and the two are intimately linked.
We used to share that uneasy feeling. Uneasy because we felt bad for others, sure. But uneasy mostly because would couldn’t prove it.
Well, stress no more. MIT has put us, you and us, our of our misery and unequivocally, scientifically, proved the fact. Phew, that feels better.
Meet LaMem (Large scale photographic memorability project). Fueled by the bestest in AI, LaMem evaluates the memorability of a photograph based on parameters that are really not interesting to debate but prove beyond doubt just how great we are. Input an image or image URL and get a grade.
So, never one, two or three, to shy away from utmost transparency, we graded random pictures of ours. Using Paul’s photographs from Episode #595, Philippe’s photographs from episode #599 and my photographs from episode #598, I went to work and got the following results.
Paul’s best and worst:
Philippe’s best and worst:
Pascal’s best and worst:
This is so useful. We’ve learned that black and white street photography in square format is crap, the Taj Mahal is rubbish and that zigzags rule photographic memorability.
As ever, DearSusan providing valuable consumer advice, here!
But that’s not all. In order to make you realise just how much you are getting for your free money, we compared ourselves to a few other photographers. Turning for help to CNN’s 25 of the most iconic photographs, we evaluated 25 pictures from a bunch of people you may have heard of, Pulitzer prizes, you see the type (Capa, Lange, Karsh …)
Stuff like raising the flag at Iwo Jima, a South Vietnamese police general shooting a suspected Viet Cong rebel in the head, a man jumping from a tower on 9/11, a vulture readying to feed on a dying African baby, a portrait of a bloke called Churchill, a Spanish soldier dying in front of the camera, still standing, Marylin’s legs and hiny, an olympic Black Salute, an Immigrant Mother, the explosion of the Hindenburg … You might call those photographs “memorable”, right?
Here’s what the AI declared best and worst:
The lesson here is that you should not turn your back at the camera and that selfies rule. Pout or stick your tongue out. V fingers are a plus.
Also note that most of the 25 photographs were under our collective memorability average of 0.614. So yes, half a century of the world’s best photographer’s lives barely tops the quality of DearSusan’s last 3 posts. It’s a terrifying responsibility for us and a real blow to the others…
Just to end on a positive note for the less gifted, let me state that there is huge room for improvement for all of
us you. And once more, LaMem provides guidance. Here are the most memorable photographs EVER recorded. They need no comment 😉
I’m being deliberately obtuse (and super arogant 😉 … ), obviously. And this algorithm can have its uses. While “memorability” might not describe what it really measures, I do feel it gives a good sense of “clarity of composition”. Very often, we are not able to simplify our images enough and this provides an impartial judge of clarity. So maybe there is a use of AI in artistic endeavours after all 😉
Now, to your cameras with awe-stricken gratitude ! Here’s to the next humble 600 🙂
Philippe adds …
DearReader, DearSusan once more comes to your help. Now that we know from Pascal, with the invaluable help from LaMem, what a good picture really looks like, which is our equivalent of finding the Holy Grail wrapped in the Golden Fleece stored away in Ali Baba’s cave, here is something that will actually help you produce such sterling, knee-buckling, earth-shattering, jaw-dropping pictures.
It does have some really interesting features, like in-camera HDR, and/or focus-stacking, outputting to RAW if desired. At that point, I was really thinking that I was going to get myself one of these gizmos, because I could finally add “nal” to my level of competence when it came to multiple shots (I don’t do them, pure and simple, ’cause I can’t be… arsed). Now, I could be… Arsenaled!
That is when the presentation comes to the juicy part. Based on a library of “perfect shots”, selected by LaMem no doubt, Arsenal lets you enjoy the “perfectest” version of whatever shot you wanted to take. Cool, right? Well, quite few people seem to think so, because the Kickstater project was over-funded from day one, and now stands to be funded almost 10x more than requested. So Arsenal is a happening thing! All these perfectest shots are about to be unleashed on an admiring world. Photography will be great again, and Arsenal will be its Grand Vizir!
Of course, with such a terrific instrument, who needs DearSusan any more? Who needs books, videos and workshops to become better photographers when perfection is just one Arsenal away?
All hail Perfectest Photography!
PS. I include just a few seriously un-perfect pics. Let’s enjoy them while we may, before they get outlawed.
Paul adds …
Last in line and the two other Ps now want something original from me. Sage advice? I think not.
Instead, a simple quotation.
Alf Garnet (famous motor mouth from the BBC’s ’til death us do part) driving when drunk and stopped for speeding, tries to convince the policeman that it was the car’s fault; “It’s an automatic, but you do have to be here.”
Testing the AI waters? It’s advice worth bearing in mind.
#1126. Reframing Photography with Artificial Intelligence
#589. The Un-labor Monday post (1 May 2017) – The Terminator and Maslow duke it out
#1022. Monday Post (back from hols, news, reminders and the future)
#981. Friday Post (20 March 2020) – The Write of Spring
#958. Monday Post (27 Jan 2020) – Galleries, projets, pics of the month, challenges and a few thoughts following comments
#947. Monday Post (30 Dec 2019) – Last post! (for the year)
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