Monday, April 13, 2009

iPhoto Faces

What do a dog's nose, cookie dough, and a plate of corned beef hash have in common?

A) Smelliness
B) Deliciousness
C) They are things that iPhoto '09 recognizes as faces

If you guessed C, maybe you've seen the "Things iPhoto Thinks Are Faces" Flickr pool. iPhoto's new facial recognition feature, while fun and a great boon to social networking, is not without its quirks. The parameters that the program uses to define and target faces can result in the tagging of random collections of shadow and light as your friend Steve.

Some of the mistakenly tagged images are cute (cookies, baby's shirt), some are just weird (gecko fingers) and some are haunting. The two images that I posted here are slightly creepy and have a "they're watching us" quality to them. True examples of simulacra, they highlight the human instinct to see familiar and anthropomorphic shapes in inanimate objects. Just like us, iPhoto seems to be programed to see faces in the trees.

Images by Flickr user modernglow.

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