I came across this post today over at PSFK. Andrew Kupresanin developed a camera, called Nadia, which is described as an Aesthetics Inference camera. Interesting idea, don’t you think? Instead of the usual display screen on a camera to show the photographer what they’re about to snap a picture of, Nadia uses ACQUINE, an aesthetics inference engine created in Germany, and which displays a rating to the user to help them judge at what point they should trigger the shutter to get the best shot.
I think the concept is certainly an interesting one, using artificial intelligence to judge what is pleasing to the eye…or is supposed to be pleasing to the eye at least.
However, I wonder at the true nature and use of this sort of device. Photography and other similar fields, are about creativity and the creative process! I feel that something like this takes away part of that creativity. I could see this marketed to your average consumer, but I hesitate to believe any professional photography would ever use this. The technological advancement here is great, but I would need to know a great deal more about it to truly judge. What exactly influences how Nadia determines the aesthetic quality of a thing? Certainly it may be able to present the user with what is aesthetically pleasing to any average person, but the difference between humans is machines is our ability to think freely and creatively, to imagine not only the logical but the illogical. For example, in a previous post I discussed David Slijper’s blurred Elle UK cover photo of Kylie Minogue. I thought the photo was stunning and unique, but my guess is Nadia would have rated such an image low=not beautiful, due to the fuzzy appearance, the exact aspect of the photo I found appealing.
We, as a people, seek beauty in most things, and you can find it all around and often it’s incredibly obvious, a lovely face, a scenic landscape, a perfectly tailored outfit. Sometimes, however, it’s the unexpected that can be far more intriguing and beautiful. Perhaps it’s because we haven’t seen something before, or maybe we’re being shown something in a new way, but I worry that such a device might limit this creative element of aesthetics. Thoughts?