Lytro Documentary Brings Images to Life Through the Eyes of 5 Photographers

Lytro recently created a fascinating documentary to show off the capabilities of its new Illum camera.

By teaming up with five different photographers, all from different styles of work, the company was able to capture how this new approach to photography can be used to turn a photograph into something more… an experience.

Coming in at eleven minutes, the documentary gives us a glimpse into the life of the 5 lucky photographers who had the opportunity to play around with the Lytro Illum, and it gets its point across well.


Watching it, it’s evident that this new technology not only changes how viewers see and interact with an image, it also dramatically affects how a photographer goes about creating and composing it in the first place.

The Lytro technology forces photographers to create images with more depth than ever before, both literally and metaphorically speaking. And thanks to the interactive viewing offered by light-field images, those photographs can be experienced in just as much depth.

But enough from us. Check out the video at the top to follow along with Anna Webber, Roman Leo, Lori Nix, Kyle Thompson and Brian Nevins as they discover just how different they seem to approach the subjects and scenes they photograph with the Illum in hand.

  • Renato Murakami

    Honestly, I’m still not convinced that this is the “next step of photography” as Lytro likes to announce, but from the earliest versions of this tech I kinda knew it had some very appealing potential applications for specific situations.
    The major problem I’m still seeing with it is on the delivering process.
    I’ll admit the video gave more insight into Lytro’s vision, and it was very well made and very nicely put.
    But I still don’t like very much how tied to the company itself you end up being.
    The specially bad part is how you end up dependant on proprietary stuff to view, edit, and then present or display results. Then there’s this inherent problem with the images themselves which you kinda need to interact with it somehow to get the results.
    This is something that goes a bit backwards with photography being “just there”. It’s sort of a different take and different philosophy perhaps… instead of immediate delivery, you get something you have to take a few moments and interact a bit to get the full spectrum – which I’m shure has value and will have people willing to do it, but I’m not shure if that’s valid for a whole lot of people.
    In that sense, it kinda falls in the same category as 360 photos, stuff like Microsoft’s Photosynth and some other techniques that are reliant on viewing content on a computer because interaction is needed. You can’t print those, can’t use in print advertisement, so you get limited options in exchange for other capabilities.
    But the idea that came up watching the video, which isn’t presented in it at first, is using those images for videos. It automatically does a technique that some videographers already use for photos, but without the need for specific post production: which is the parallax effect.
    With that, the delivery problem is solved: viewers will now be able to interact directly with the images, but they’ll be plenty useful and the effect is more or less achieved.
    I know at least one specific field of work where the usage of this new camera would be immediately applicable, having already worked with it: commercial photos for real estate agencies.
    Depending on how the lens on the camera is, regarding distortion among other things, perhaps it’d also be applicable for architectural photography too, just guessing.
    And then when you think about event photography, wedding, and some others, it could be used in some way. Thought it was a bit weird that they didn’t explore more down to Earth commercial applications like those.
    In any case, let’s see what happens when the camera is out there.

  • Poki

    Anna Webber’s ‘living photos’ are absolutely stunning! They are the only hints so far that Lytro’s vision is actually a great one. And I am sure that light field photography will live on and become a big thing sometimes in the future – it just won’t replace traditional photography. It’s much rather a new medium which will live side by side with video and photography. Light field photography is different, and that’s a good thing.

  • George Johnson

    I think the one quote that stood out was, “It’s not made for publishing standard pictures, it’s made for an interactive experience.”. Which as others have said, you need special software, you to dedicate time to spend on viewing the images. Which in a modern, fast paced world we live in, anything that might help us slow down or a few secs and appreciate art, is a good thing. However in the fast paced advertising world, they know they have a fraction of a second to get your attention with a great image or they will lose you as a customer for good, this sort of interactive technology may not be that useful.

    Fascinating technology but being very cynical, these people were chosen specifically for their skill and they do a stunning job but it’s still an 11 minute advertisement and they’re not going to be able to give us both good and bad points. I can’t believe these togs with all their years of skill have nothing negative to say about the product, sadly they won’t be able to share. When I see something I’m interested in, I like to hear both good and bad points so I can make up my own mind.

    I think it really is interesting stuff and full credit to Lytro for going to market with products using lightfield photography, just see it as a little bit like those 3D cameras that came out in the 1980’s. Big splash of advertising, limited products and then it died a death as no one could find a really good use for it.