This Camera Produces A Picture, Using The Scene Before It

It’s the most basic of functions for a camera, that when you point it at a scene, it produces a photograph of what it sees. [Jasper van Loenen] has created a camera that does just that, but not perhaps in the way we might expect. Instead of committing pixels to memory it takes a picture, uses AI to generate a text description of what is in the picture, and then uses another AI to generate an image from that picture. It’s a curiously beautiful artwork as well as an ultimate expression of the current obsession with the technology, and we rather like it.

The camera itself is a black box with a simple twin-lens reflex viewfinder. Inside is a Raspberry Pi that takes the photo and sends it through the various AI services, and a Fuji Instax Mini printer. Of particular interest is the connection to the printer which we think may be of interest to quite a few others, he’s reverse engineered the Bluetooth protocols it uses and created Python code allowing easy printing. The images it produces are like so many such AI-generated pieces of content, pretty to look at but otherworldly, and weird parallels of the scenes they represent.

It’s inevitable that consumer cameras will before long offer AI augmentation features for less-competent photographers, meanwhile we’re pleased to see Jasper getting there first.

23 thoughts on “This Camera Produces A Picture, Using The Scene Before It

      1. This is something that sounds great on paper but sounds less good when you see clusters of starving homeless artists in the streets. As much as the abuse of copyright favors large corporations, the existence of copyright does benefit individuals and small companies. Abolishment wouldn’t help anyone, what we need is reform – fee payment provisions so that winning party in fair use cases automatically gets fees paid by opposition, decrease length of copyright to an actually reasonable timeframe, etc.

    1. I’ve read lawyers, claim that as a result of the case with the monkey that took a selfie
      ” a non-human creator (not being a legal person) cannot hold copyright, and that the images are thus in the public domain. “

      1. But Jasper van Loenen is a human, not a monkey.
        Humans using film cameras were not ruled as non-humans that can’t hold copyright. Same with paintbrushes. So using tools seems OK.
        Humans using digital cameras weren’t either, and those pictures are generated by software.
        Humans using photoshop still hold copyright over their work made completely within software.

        I don’t see why a human using a different program would be any different.

      1. I think it’s referring to the last paragraph of the HaD article above: “It’s inevitable that consumer cameras will before long offer AI augmentation features for less-competent photographers, meanwhile we’re pleased to see Jasper getting there first.”

        1. Thank you, I was a bit confused there.

          And yeah, phones are all starting to do this kind of stuff more and more and soon a picture is like the output of this article’s device, 100% fake.
          I haven’t heard about any consumer camera doing it so far though.
          Apart from what they call ‘AI’ but is just a selection of exposure tweaks and maybe some skin smoothing where the term AI is used very loosly.

      2. It’s just a question of how much is changed. I thing is the google Pixel 7 camera that had features like AI Unblur, and current a lot of what phones do is make the photos look pleasant and what you’d expect them to look like which is very far from what the sensor capture

    1. looking at most of the art vomited out by artificial idiocy (ai), to me we seem to be entering the age of “shit, does anyone here know how to take a picture that is saying at least as much as the prompt that goes with it?”

      I am pretty happy about seeing almost zero art of significance coming out of the current hype zone, people who know what they are doing just have to be patient and wait for the masses to cry for real content.

  1. “You see what you see and I paint what I see,” said the imp from it’s hatch. “What I see is real. I was bred for it. I only see what’s really there.”
    ― Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic

    we finally achieved it!!!

  2. Hey Jasper! Cool to see you here =) It reminds me of several projects, for example the ‘GPS Camera’ that would shoot a picture, or rather records the gps coordinates and then presents you with a picture from that location from Flickr. Or Herjen Oldenbeuving’s Two Megapixel black and white camera. A camera with only two large pixels, it included a photobook with all possible photos you could ever make with it. Ahhh and of course Florian Cramer’s Floppy Films, feature movies compressed as such it would fit on a 1,44MB floppy. I will happily add you to the list =D

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