Unthinking Photography is an online resource that explores photography's increasingly automated, networked life.

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From Spectacle to Extraction. And All Over Again.

November 2019

I met with Kate Crawford and Trevor Paglen on the press preview of their exhibition Training Humans in Milan at Osservatorio Prada. It was the morning of September 11th –not a neutral day to unthink photography and the power operations of vast populations of images. On the contrary, it was the most apt one to seriously consider Crawford and Paglen’s proposition that "images are no longer spectacle but they are in fact looking back at us, being actors in a process of massive value extraction".

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I’m looking at you, looking at me

November 2019

In Heather Dewey-Hargborg’s artwork ‘How do you see me?’, commissioned for the Data/Set/Match programme at The Photographers’ Gallery, the artist explores how machines see us. A question that has been carefully slipping through several areas of production and research during the past couple of decades. At the same time an essential need has also emerged to understand the processes and internal mechanisms that are usually hidden from or mysterious to the user: commenting on those who code, train, build these mechanisms and how this translates into what happens outside of the screen.

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Where Did ImageNet Come From?

November 2019

In September 2019 the ImageNet creator Fei-Fei Li gave a talk at The Photographers' Gallery talking through the events and key people that led to the creation of visual datasets.

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An Introduction to Image Datasets

November 2019

In 2019 The Photographers' Gallery digital programme launched 'Data / Set / Match', a year-long programme that explores new ways to present, visualise and interrogate contemporary image datasets. This introductory essay presents some key concepts and questions that make the computer vision dataset an object of concern for artists, photographers, thinkers and photographic institutions.

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Embodying Others

"Use of capture technology involves a level of selective resolution; an emphasis of certain elements over others. As the image production process isn’t a linear hermetic process, decisions are taken in it’s production that will be visible in the rendered outcome..."

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Into the Universe of Rendered Architectural Images

June 2019

"While the capacity to intervene in the production of urban space or formulate an effective vision of what’s to come has appeared increasingly cut off to the general population, long-term development projects and real-estate schemes continue to dictate city transformation well into the future. And we are increasingly inundated with the architectural visualisations that accompany these plans..."

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The Entasis of Elon Musk

June 2019

"The idea that an architectural rendering can be ‘real’ or ‘fake’ involves a transference of the logic of one medium—building—to the logic of another—drawing. Architectural rendering has always exploited the potentials of the page or canvas where money, knowledge, taste or gravity proved prohibitive..."

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Rendering the Desert of The Real

June 2019

The artist and designer Tobias Revell has been invited by The Photographers' Gallery digital programme to curate a strand for Unthinking Photography on the theme of photography, rendering and CGI and their effect in architecture and the built environment. In this text the curator of the series introduces the topic through a short history of image manipulation and the emergence of CGI technologies.

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‘Hooded Prisoner’ in 3D – a discussion between Julian Stallabrass and Alan Warburton

June 2019

A 3D model depicting a hooded prisoner from Abu Ghraib, was the starting point for a discussion between the artist Alan Warburton and the art historian and curator Julian Stallabrass.

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A cold draught in a hot medium

February 2019

"Images now published on social media are valorised in terms of distribution and quantifiable interactions, particularly when triangulated with data about a user’s online purchases or social media behaviour. This process shapes visual representations of human identities into ‘data images’ outside the control of the person the data originates from. These identity images, or profiles, are bought and sold without our knowing, and provide more insight into our behaviour and motivations than we perhaps have ourselves"...

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