After the last post I was going to leave this for a day or so but I couldn’t help having a go. The natural next step for me, having gathered a bunch of photos together, was to pixelate them in some manner. I tried a basic 12×12 but it didn’t do much other than create a blocky smudge. So I pushed it further, resizing each photo as a 1×1 pixel square. In other words forcing the resizing algorithm to chose only one colour. Though I don’t have any idea how it decides I’m going to assume for the sake of this exercise that it’s the average colour by some definition of average. At the very least it’s an extremely abstract representation of the photograph.
On its own the square of colour means nothing. But when I put all these abstracted versions of the IMG_4228 photos together we finally see something. The video has a nice shimmer but it’s the canvas that finally tells us something. Gone are the aberrations, the inconsistencies in cropping and framing, the mud of sameness and the jarring of distinction. Nor does does the lizard brain get distracted by provocative naked flesh nor the protective urge triggered by cute child faces. Pattern matching is useless. The intellect has nothing to hook on to. No themes, no cues, no templates to project on.
After working with the chaos of the IMG_4228 slice I found this canvas calming. I’d been wondering if I might find anything at all in a sample which was by its very definition free of patterns. These photos have nothing in common with each other but in order to understand that I had to remove anything that might lead me to think they did. Now I can see the chaos.
I feel the urge to get scientific now. I want to take further samples from the IMG_XXXX spectrum and see how they compare to this. And then I’ll need to take samples where the title of the image implies a connection. What would average pixel canvas look like for capital cities like New York or London? How would the average pixel canvas for people’s names compare?
I think I’ve stumbled upon something here. And I’m quite excited.
- IMG 4228 Flickr Dump
- Koyaanisqatsi Average Pixels