Archives for October 2012

Colorizing History

Yes, Abraham Lincoln lived in color, not B&W — but his own words describe his complexion as dark, and his eyes as gray — not blue.

That’s one criticism circulating online about Time Magazine’s colorization of famous photos of the famed President, as well as such shots as the famed WWII victory kiss on the streets of NYC, and the poor during the Depression. The other criticism is that many subjects — such as the Depression — are more suited to gray than Day-Glo color. And, of course, that the photographers behind the shots composed them for black and white, and added color, while perhaps more “true,” betrays the artist’s intent.

However, Time says “Technology has given us an incredibly wide-ranging view of modern presidents…The photo archive of Abraham Lincoln is a much smaller set due to the technological limitations of the time; most of the existing photographs of the 16th president are posed portraits, the majority of which only show Lincoln from the chest up—and all are black-and-white. But TIME commissioned Sanna Dullaway to create a more vibrant document of Lincoln through a series of colorized photographs produced in Photoshop. After removing spots, dust and scratches from archival Lincoln photographs, Dullaway digitally colorizes the files to produce realistic and modern versions of the portraits, which look like they could have been made today.”

The colorized photos are here.

Debunking fake photos from Hurricane Sandy

As the storm raged over New York City and much of the northeast US, photos of flooding a and fired hit the Internet — many of them faked, or simply copied from disaster movies.

Some sensationalistic forgeries were spotted quickly; others required a bit of expertise, or at least, some online footwork. The newsite Pando Daily spotlights the story of one journalist who exposed the fakery here.

The Atlantic continues to post true and false photos here. That great double rainbow over Manhattan shot? Real.

Kodak posts large loss


As it shifts its business from photography to commercial printing, Kodak continues to lose money: its third-quarter net loss grew 41 percent from a year earlier — from $222 million to $312 million.

Revenue for the three-month period ending in September fell 19 percent to $1.02 billion. “This reduction reflects strategic decisions to focus on profitable businesses and accounts, lower sales of traditional products, unfavorable foreign exchange impact, and soft industry demand as a result of the broader economic downturn in some businesses and regions,” Kodak says.

In its announcement, Kodak reported “continued progress in segment profitability in third quarter… as a result of tightened focus on the company’s most profitable customer accounts and businesses, and a substantial reduction in costs.”

The Rochester, N.Y. company says its focus on cost reductions and profitability “resulted in a decrease in selling, general and administrative expenses of $63 million, a 24% reduction from the same period in the prior year.” Kodak’s worldwide cash balance was $1.13 billion at the end of the third quarter.

Kodak has now lost more than $3 billion since the end of 2007, according to Reuters.


InfoTrends studies end-user photo printing habits

Connected devices such as smartphones and tablets will play a very important role in the development of the photo print market over the next few years through apps and simplified ordering processes, research firm InfoTrends says — and “consumers still need to understand the value of print to stay in the habit of printing photos, with whatever device photos are taken with.”

InfoTrends’ most recent survey research shows “most consumers are still printing photos.” Nearly 73 percent of participants say that they print photos at least occasionally.

The real change is happening in the devices used to take photos, the company says, as 45 percent of survey respondents say they own a smartphone, which is up from 31 percent in 2011. 30 percent of smartphone owners use the phone most often to take photos, which is up from just 17 percent in 2011. The percent of respondents that own a tablet is also up considerably, from just 6 percent of respondents in 2011 to over 17 percent in 2012.

InfoTrends says it is “encouraging” that more than 20 percent of respondents say they are not printing photos now — but plan to in the future.

InfoTrends recommends retailers and vendors educate consumers on the archival benefits of printing photos as well as promoting redundancy for safeguarding photos. “More consumers need to be made aware of the importance of photo printing, and stakeholders in the photo market need to work together to make sure it is easy to order prints from connected devices, such as smartphones, tablets, or connected cameras” the firm says. Also, vendors must focus on the development of more intuitive photo printing apps to facilitate printing from mobile devices.

InfoTrends’ 2012 U.S. Photo Printing End-User Survey is available here.


Belkin adds night vision to WiFi camera

The NetCam Wi-Fi Camera with night vision “allows you to monitor your home on your smartphone or tablet from anywhere,” manufacturer Belkin says.

The camera features infrared night vision “for clear viewing even in low or no light,” the company adds, “plus wide-angle video to get a better view of more of your room.” The NetCam also provides audio “to listen in on your room as well as see it.”

The $130 NetCam sets up with any iOS or Android device, and connects directly to a WiFi router without a computer. It can save live video to a mobile device with the free NetCam app, which also provides email alerts, “notifying you when motion is detected and sending you a snapshot.”