Samsung faked a smartphone portrait with a stock photo taken with a DSLR

Samsung's latest phones have a "portrait" mode that cleverly fakes the look of a shot taken with a fancy lens on a full-frame sensor. But a picture they used as an example in an ad turns out to be a stock photo taken with a high-end DLSR. Moreover, the photographer, Dunja Djudjic, has a blog and is currently murdering Samsung.

My first reaction was to burst out into laughter. Just look at the Photoshop job they did on my face and hair! I’ve always liked my natural hair color (even though it’s turning gray black and white), but I guess the creator of this franken-image prefers reddish tones. Except in the eyes though, where they removed all of the blood vessels.

Whoever created this image, they also cut me out of the original background and pasted me onto a random photo of a park. I mean, the original photo was taken at f/2.0 if I remember well, and they needed the “before” and “after” – a photo with a sharp background, and another one where the almighty “portrait mode” blurred it out. So Samsung’s Photoshop master resolved it by using a different background.

Huawei did exactly the same thing a while back. We wonder at the sheer stupidity of it, but I wonder if that's just confirmation bias, in that the stupid ones get caught.

Just think of all the plagiarism that's going to be exposed virtually overnight when someone turns the AIs loose on the problem. But also the false charges of such, generated by the normal and natural lines of influence and fair use it will also reveal. Read the rest

The Death of Tumblr

Tumblr will ban 'female-presenting nipples' and other content beginning December 17, 2018. Photographer and writer Nate 'Igor' Smith is a longtime Tumblr user whose work straddles the boundaries of art, editorial, and adult. Here, Nate explains why Tumblr's decision to censor is devastating for the Tumblr's longtime users, and the rest of us. — XJ

THERE WAS A TIME when Tumblr was my favorite place to post photos. It was a social network that you could customize in so many ways that you could create a blog or a mood board or hide a secret project behind a password protected gate. It was used by so many people in so many different ways. You could posts .gifs on Tumblr before they worked on Twitter and you could post uncompressed images that looked good on desktop or smartphone without having to know any code.

I used it as a great place to post images that I could then send to Twitter to get around Twitter’s terrible compression and constantly flowing feed. I used it as a place to organize my images because of Tumblr’s tagging system. I could search for a person or subject or send someone a link to just a specific tag so they could see all my favorite photos of juggalos for example. It was a fantastic tool and my most popular social network until Instagram really exploded. Read the rest

Wild tricks advertisers use to make food look appealing

Even though now I know how it's done, that food still looks so damned delicious. (via Kottke)

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Behold! A 400,000 megapixel panorama of Prague!

Jeffrey Martin (previously) writes, "I shot this gigapixel image last year in mid November. It's made of 8000 photos, shot with a fullframe SLR and a 600mm lens. It was shot from the top of Prague's 'Orloj', the clock tower on Old Town Square, built in 1410. The tower had a scaffolding all over it at the time, going all the way up past the top of the roof: a perfect platform for a high resolution 360º photo, if only I could get up there! I actually didn't even consider trying, as the answer to such questions is usually 'no'. My colleague, a rather more enterprising Marketing guy, was able to smooth talk them into saying 'yes'. Wow! Read the rest

In this interview, photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson had sex on the mind

Can one learn to look? According to street photography pioneer Henri Cartier-Bresson, the answer is, um, sex. (via PetaPixel)

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A modern mudlarker finds treasures washed up on the River Thames banks

In the 18th and 19th centuries, mudlarks were people who sifted through the mud on the banks of the River Thames to find things of value. Ted Sandling keeps the dream alive. He compiled his curious collection in a book, London in Fragments: A Mudlark's Treasures, and you can also follow his finds on Instagram. If you're inspired to dig yourself, new laws require mudlarkers (and metal detector users) to apply for a permit first and then report any treasures you uncover to the authorities.

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A couple of days ago I found this spoon, standing straight up in the gravel like a very small and shapely monolith. There was a symbolic significance to its position, as if it had been placed with deliberate purpose, probably to do with britishness, and tea. I picked it up (how could one not?) and brought it home for someone who is six and a half years old and likes spoons. The reverse tells all manner of stories to those who can decode the hallmarks (I can’t, but I know a google who can). It’s silver plate, made by James Deakin & Sons in the late nineteenth century and has what sophisticates know as ‘rather a lot of dings’ in the bowl. Also, for some ceremonial reason, most of the silver has come unplated. It’s their Sidney Silver brand, so called because it was made at the Sidney Works on Sidney Street, quite possibly by a man named Sidney.

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The first selfie in space was taken 52 years ago today

On this day in 1966, Buzz Aldrin took the first selfie in space while standing on his seat and hanging out of an open hatch as part of the Gemini XII mission. From NASA:

This “stand up” EVA (the first of three during the mission) was conducted with the hatch off while Aldrin stood on his seat, his upper body clear of the spacecraft. He completed his tasks with ease, including setting up an ultraviolet camera to image star fields, installing a movie camera, fixing a handrail, and retrieving a micrometeorite experiment. The flawless EVA lasted two hours and twenty minutes.

The second EVA, on November 13, was the real test of Aldrin’s extensive training. Attached to the spacecraft by an “umbilical” cord, he stepped out into space and began his work. The combination of underwater training, multiple restraints and handholds on both vehicles, and a new waist tether paid off: he was able to perform the needed tasks on both the Gemini XII and the GATV without a struggle. He rested periodically, which allowed him to recover between activities, and used the new restraints to position his body in diverse ways that weren’t possible on previous missions. The EVA was a resounding success.

For the final EVA, like the first one, Aldrin stood in his seat on the spacecraft. He discarded unneeded equipment and food containers, knowing they would eventually reenter Earth’s atmosphere and burn up, and took pictures of stars. Altogether, Aldrin spent five and a half hours conducting the Gemini XII spacewalks.

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Astonishing close-up image of Jupiter taken by Juno last month

NASA's Juno spacecraft took this glamour shot of Jupiter on October 29, 2018, from about 4,400 miles (7,000) kilometers above the planet's clouds. From NASA:

A multitude of magnificent, swirling clouds in Jupiter's dynamic North North Temperate Belt is captured in this image... Appearing in the scene are several bright-white “pop-up” clouds as well as an anticyclonic storm, known as a white oval.

Citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran created this image using data from the spacecraft's JunoCam imager.

JunoCam's raw images are available for the public to peruse and to process into image products at: http://missionjuno.swri.edu/junocam.

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Gorgeous, stylized portraits of vintage computing hardware

Docubyte's Visual History of Computing 1945-1979 is a mix of superb staging, outstanding photography, and intense nostalgia, and it just made my day. Read the rest

Photographer turns nature photos into immersive rooms to explore

To exhibit his photography at large scale, Chris Engman builds rooms with interiors wrapped with his stunning photos of forests, deserts, and other landscapes. They beckon the viewer inside where, of course, the perspectives warp and shift. From Colossal:

Engman explains that once one enters the work its believability as a singular landscape becomes penetrated. Each step deeper inside the work makes the photographed landscape appear increasingly warped and unreal.

“Even so,” says Engman, “compared to a singular framed photograph the experience of this installation for the viewer is much more physical and immersive. The structure is a room, not an image of a room. The photograph is an object, in addition to being an illusion. It has weight, and volume, and changes as you walk around it. Making this installation has been a thrilling process, and this new way of working seems to afford many new possibilities.”

(photos by Tony Walsh, courtesy of the artist, and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles) Read the rest

DeOldify: a free/open photo-retoucher based on machine learning

Jason Antic's DeOldify is a Self-Attention Generative Adversarial Network-based machine learning system that colorizes and restores old images. It's only in the early stages but it's already producing really impressive results, and the pipeline includes a "defade" model that is "just training the same model to reconstruct images that augmented with ridiculous contrast/brightness adjustments, as a simulation of fading photos and photos taken with old/bad equipment." Read the rest

Supreme/Richard Prince release t-shirt with composited face of Trump's female accusers

Clothing brand Supreme and artist Richard Prince created "18 & Stormy," a new t-shirt design emblazoned with the composited face of Stormy Daniels and eighteen women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct. The proceeds from the t-shirt benefit Downtown for Democracy, "a political action committee founded by creative people to transform cultural influence into political power."

(Hypebeast) Read the rest

Lisa Kereszi’s creepy photos of low-budget scare attractions

[Note: disturbing photos below]

Lisa Kereszi “has an eye for the kind of detail that makes you feel like slitting your throat,” Sarah Boxer writes in her New York Times review of an exhibition that included Kereszi’s photos of Governors Island, in New York Harbor. A courtesy phone the color of freshly dried blood; a drinking fountain that somehow manages to look sinister against the traffic-cone orange of the wall behind it; an abandoned motel room whose queasy-green carpet still bears the ghost image of a bed, a discolored rectangle uncomfortably reminiscent of a grave: looking at Kereszi’s images of the former military and Coast Guard base, we have to agree with Boxer’s observation that she "revels in...plain and awful surfaces.”

Kereszi, who is director of undergraduate studies in the Yale School of Art when she isn’t prowling modern ruins, captures the uncanniness of the banal, the creepy melancholy of the abject, the disquieting blur at the edge of camera frame. Boxer compares her work to Eugène Atget’s proto-surrealist photographs of dreamlike boulevards and sleepwalking mannequins in Belle-Époque Paris but to my mind it’s more accurately a cross between Diane Arbus’s mixture of the mundane and the insinuating — her ability to render the everyday freakish with the snap of a shutter — and the nameless creepiness of David Lynch. (I’m thinking of the saloon singer’s apartment in Blue Velvet.)

Nowhere is this quality more abundantly on display than in Haunted, a “Halloween series” of “temporary and semi-permanent scare attractions” Kereszi has “been working on, on and off, since 2004,” as she told me in an e-mail. Read the rest

An artificial intelligence populated these photos with glitchy humanoid ghosts

Two of the MIT researchers behind the provocative Deep Angel project, an algorithm that digitally erases objects from photos, have now delivered a strange and beautiful system to "conjure phantasms into being." Read the rest

Magnificent "Voyager of the Moons" GIF from Cassini's images from Jupiter and Saturn

Kevin M. Gill, a software engineer and data wrangler at NASA-JPL, created the fantastic video below "using still images taken by the Cassini spacecraft during it's flyby of Jupiter and while at Saturn.

"Shown is Io and Europa over Jupiter's Great Red Spot and then Titan as it passes over Saturn and it's edge-on rings," Gill wrote on Flickr.

image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/CICLOPS/Kevin M. Gill Read the rest

Portals of London: urban exploration to discover gateways to alternative universe

Salim Fadhley writes, "Portals of London, an urban exploration blog, presents an alternative geography of London. It's a catalog of the weird, decrepit and slightly crumpled - things the author posits might plausibly be portals to alternative universes, but then again might not." Read the rest

What 'Independence Day' Is Like In Transnistria, An Unrecognized Country Inside Moldova

Transnistria, officially the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, is an Eastern European territory with a strong Soviet vibe. Technically, the country does not exist. Transnistria is considered a part of the Republic of Moldova, and isn't an officially recognized nation of its own, despite declaring independence in 1990, followed by a war in 1992. I attended this year's Independence Day celebrations in Transnistria, hoping to understand what the place and the people are all about. Here's what I saw. Read the rest

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