Have you heard of the term sousveillance? It’s the inverse of surveillance: instead of a camera pointed at individuals, individuals wear their own cameras on themselves to document their activities. Wearable-camera pioneer Steve Mann has written a fascinating piece for Time, titled “Eye Am a Camera: Surveillance and Sousveillance in the Glassage“, in which he offers his vision of what the future will look like once wearable cameras such as Google Glass (seen above) become ubiquitous.
In an interview we published this past weekend, popular photo blogger Thomas Hawk predicted that one of the major trends over the next five years will be “monetization for non-professional photographers.” Paul Melcher of Thoughts of a Bohemian made the exact same prediction today:
The next major disruption in the photo world will be individual licensing. The ability for any individual to license images directly [...] Getty has been fighting these trends by cutting deals with photo sharing platforms like Flickr, but for how long? Those who license via Getty do not appreciate the very low commission rate they receive and since they are already contacted by image buyers directly, can easily jump ship if offered other solution.
So what will be the effect? While, like today everyone is a publisher, tomorrow, everyone will be a photo agency capable of licensing their images with one click from anywhere. They might license only one image a year each, but multiplied by millions worlwide, they will seriously impact the photo licensing world.
So which entrepreneur or photo-hosting service will be the “first mover” in this yet-to-emerge market? Whoever it turns out to be, that person or company will both make a killing and turn a photography-related industry on its head.
The Next Big Thing [Thoughts of a Bohemian]
Image credit: Photo illustration based on hand full of polaroids by and Money Hand Holding Bankroll Girls February 08, 20117 by stevendepolo
People often laugh and poke fun at the cliche of impossible image enhancements seen in TV shows and movies, but you won’t be laughing when you see what SmartDeblur can do — you’ll be gawking in amazement. Created by programmer and image processing expert Vladimir Yuzhikov, the program can magically reveal details in photographs that are blurry due to poor focusing and/or shaky hands.
What if there were a disposable digital camera that you could eat after using? Sounds bizarre, but it already exists. Scientists in the US are working on uber-thin electronics that can be dissolved inside the human body once their job is done. Among the many possible uses being explored is photography.
Lost Memories is a beautiful 3-minute-long short film by Francois Ferracci that imagines a future in which cameras can share images with the world as soon as they’re shot — oh wait, that’s now — and can beam holographic photographs into the air for easy uploading or editing. In such a futuristic world, would analog photography still have any role to play?
Paris, 2020. A beautiful couple, a city over-saturated by holograms and digital stream. A polaroid camera. Tomorrow will never be the same.
It’s a thought-provoking story that might make you think twice about both photographic mediums and data backups.
When doing certain types of welding, special helmets with dark lens shades should be used to protect the eyes from the extremely bright welding arc and sparks. The masks help filter out light, protecting your eyes, but at the same time make it hard to see the details in what you’re doing. In other words, the dynamic range is too high, and wearers are unable to see both the arc and the objects they’re welding.
A group of researchers in the EyeTap Personal Imaging Lab at the University of Toronto have a solution, and it involves cameras. They’ve created a “quantigraphic camera” that can give people enhanced vision. Instead of being tuned to one particular brightness, it attempts to make everything in front of the wearer visible by using ultra high dynamic range imaging.
Everyone is a photographer these days, and it is estimated that 380 billion photographs were taken last year, with a huge percentage of them created with the 1 billion+ camera-equipped phones now floating around. The New York Times’ James Estrin has some interesting thoughts on where this radical-shift in the practice and definition of photography is taking us:
Just as access to pens and paper hasn’t produced thousands of Shakespeares or Nabokovs, this explosion of camera phones doesn’t seem to have led to more Dorothea Langes or Henri Cartier-Bressons. But it has certainly led to many more images of what people ate at lunch.
[...] A photograph is no longer predominantly a way of keeping a treasured family memory or even of learning about places or people that we would otherwise not encounter. It is now mainly a chintzy currency in a social interaction and a way of gazing even further into one’s navel.
He thinks the strengthening torrent of digital images will have one of two possible effects: a culture that is more aware and appreciative of photography, or a society in which it’s impossible for any photo to rise above the flood of images.
In an Age of Likes, Commonplace Images Prevail [NYTimes]
Image credit: Lunch by churl
Think pancake lenses are flat? In the future, camera manufacturers might be able to replace those bulky glass elements inside lenses with lens elements that are thinner than a piece of paper. The lenses would not only be third-dimension-free, they would also be distortion-free.
Humans like preserving their memories. That’s one of the big reasons we take pictures. What if you didn’t need to actively do anything to preserve those memories? What if you could simply wear cameras that constantly capture photos and videos that are safely stored for your later viewing pleasure? With the rate at which technology — particularly storage technology — is increasing, we may soon find “lifestreaming” to be the next big thing.
Microsoft apparently thinks so, and wants a big piece of that pie. The company has filed a patent for “life streaming”, and hopes to one day be the data store for all your passively-recorded memories.
What if the battery in your camera could be charged in the same amount of time it takes to microwave a cup of instant noodles? It sounds crazy, but that’s what appears to be headed our way.
Researchers at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea have figured out a way to drastically cut down the time it takes to recharge a lithium-ion battery — the same kind found in most digital cameras.