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After arguing with (arguably) allies in science communication I was fed up. Fed up with the attitude that unattributed images are just a (small) sacrifice for the net good of science communication to the populace at large. Fed up that photographers, cartoonists & illustrators are considered by many to be lesser professions than scientists & educators. Fed up that rapid image sharing (oh I’m sorry: “curation”) can trample so many creators and yet lead to fame and fortune.

Interesting proposal for an awareness campaign about the importance of imagery in our media and the disrespect for photographers in terms of licensing images. Any thoughts?

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Always on recording for your home.

OPEN YOUR IMAGING MIND

We’re starting a new community. Or at least, we’d like that to happen. We’re setting up Imaging Mind; here we try to chronicle everything on the road to intelligent imaging.

But why are we doing this? It’s a good question, so let us explain that in a few minutes.

FACEBOOK BUYING INSTAGRAM
When Facebook bought Instagram, it sent out shockwaves throughout the industry. The psychological price of a billion dollars was enough to turn heads, but it also showed how important Instagram had become in the new social media world.

Perhaps even more importantly: it made one particular part of the modern smartphone stand out – the camera. The filters of Instagram were secondary (and very welcome addition), but primarily, Instagram grew because it was an easy way to share images with friends.

In turn it gave rise to a few evolutions of the smartphone: Samsung’s blending of a ‘full fledged camera’ with smartphone guts and Nokia’s Lumia range touting a better camera experience.

Though the quality of the image seems to be playing second fiddle to the core experience: to be able to snap an image everywhere and share it.

SNAPCHAT UNLOCKING A PRIVACY REVOLUTION
Some images however, should only be shared selectively. Instagram’s public display was a bit too much for some. Snapchat appeared to make that notion into a product: take a photo, send it to a friend and only allow him or her to view the photo for a limited amount of time. It kickstarted the ‘ephemeral’ trend: sharing of self-destructing information in search of privacy and security.

And again it cemented the need for images, both in creation and consumption. The camera needs to be everywhere and we need to be able to document it all. For whatever reason. At whatever time. And yet, next to all the cravings, we also sense a danger.

GOOGLE GLASS FINDING A USE FOR CONTEXT
Google Glass is constantly finding new ways of claiming news headlines, but not always in a positive light. Privacy concerns make people think they are being recorded all the time. In some cases the technology is seen as a method of being able to covertly record images.

We value images to such a level that ‘stealing them’ without consent is regarded as the ultimate sin. The camera not only records, it also tracks. And people are not comfortable with that idea in general. Images are to be cherished, but like other intimate aspects, they are yours to share. Having another entity or non-entity distribute and analyse them feels wrong.

Yet, this is what makes Google Glas such an enticing prospect. To be able to scan and recognise objects in everyday life and act upon that data is fantastic and has a taste of futurism to it. Translate words on the fly, snap your viewpoint and share it, find relevant information and above all, provide context to the images seen. It’s the Star Trek-tricorder idea applied yet again, to the lens.

IMAGING IS ‘HOT’
And even taking that all into account we’re skipping over other amazing projects: Microsoft’s Kinect is rapidly evolving gesture and humanoid recognition, finding application beyond video games. 3D-printing is providing a new way to experience visuals and reproduce spatial information. Augmented reality, allows us to find context where we need it. The Oculus Rift is finally bringing the notion of virtual reality into our homes and camera tracking is changing how shopkeepers display their wares.

In short, our relationship with the camera, the lens is evolving. The static stance of capturing a moment in a photograph is still there, but it has been augmented. This artificial way of seeing things is becoming our ‘third eye’. Just like our own eyes view and build an image and its context through our minds, so too does this ‘third eye’ create extra context and builds a augmented view through an external mind. An imaging mind.

And this is what we are chasing at Imaging Mind. All the roads, all the routes, all the shortcuts (and the marshes, bogs and sandpits) that lead to finding this imaging mind. To understand the imaging mind, is to understand the future. And to get there we need to do a lot of exploring.

This is the true goal of the Imaging Mind community. To get people involved in finding the imaging. So, care to join? We can always use another pair of eyes.
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