Tutti gli articoli di Phil Mistry

Impressive Adobe Algorithm Transfers One Photo’s Style Onto Another

Two pairs of researchers from Cornell University and Adobe have teamed up and developed a “Deep Photo Style Transfer” algorithm that can automatically apply the style (read: color and lighting) of one photo to another. The early results are incredibly impressive and promising.

The software is an expansion on the tech used to transfer painting styles like Monet or Van Gogh to a photograph like the app Prisma. But instead of a painting, this program uses other photographs for reference.

“This paper introduces a deep-learning approach to photographic style transfer that handles a large variety of image content while faithfully transferring the reference style,” says the rather technical abstract of the Deep Photo Style Transfer paper.

Put more plainly: when you put in two photographs, the neural network-powered program analyzes the color and quality of light in the reference photo, and pastes that photo’s characteristics onto the second. This includes things like weather, season, and time of day—theoretically, a winter’s day can be turned into summer, or a cloudy day into a glorious sunrise.

The team’s early examples show the program in action. So this original photo:

Plus this reference photo:

Equals this final photo:

It’s important to note that the software does not alter the structure of the photo in any way, so there’s no risk of distorting the lines, edges or perspective. The entire focus is on mimicking the color and light in order to copy the “look” or “style” of a reference photograph onto a new shot.

Since this is a lot easier said than done, the program has to intelligently compensate for differences between the donor and receiving image. If there is less sky visible in the receiving image, it will detect this difference and not cause the sky to spill over into the rest of the original shot, for example.

The software even attempts to “achieve very local drastic effects,” such as turning on the lights on individual skyscraper windows, all without altering the original photo by moving windows around or distorting edges.

Let’s look at one more example. Here’s the original winter landscape shot:

When you plug it into the Deep Style Transfer program with this summer landscape as a reference image:

You get this odd creation:

In the future, a perfected version of this technology could make its way into Photoshop as a tool, or run as a separate program or plug-in. Not that you should bank on this tech fixing the photos from your upcoming trip; like any other new technology, there is work to be done.

“The study shows that our algorithm produces the most faithful style transfer results more than 80% of the time,” the paper cautions. So maybe you can’t change Ansel Adam’s Moonrise, Hernandez to a Sunrise, Hernandez, but you get the picture (no pun intended) and it is very promising.

If you’re interested in digging into the tech behind this creation, read the full paper at this link.

(via DPReview)

Quick Tip: Three Composition ‘Rules’ and How to Break Them

One of the best reasons to learn the rules of photography is so you can start breaking them. In this short video, Canon Explorer of Light and music and sports photographer, David Bergman teaches you how he goes about breaking 3 of the cardinal composition rules in his work, using his Bon Jovi portfolio as an example.

The three rules and their alternatives are pretty straight forward:

  • Forget the rule of thirds, put the subject “dead center” instead
  • Forget shooting with the sun behind you, play around with silhouettes and backlight instead
  • And finally, forget filling the frame, try using negative space to your advantage.

It’s worth noting—and David does point it out, too—that you have master the rules first before you go rogue. Once you know the rules, you’ll be better equipped to decide when it would be best to throw them aside.

Check out the video up top. And if you enjoy this one, you can more of David’s “Two Minute Tips” on Adorama TV, where he shares more on photography, gear and lighting.

(via ISO 1200)

Meet Michael McCoy, the Veteran Who Fights PTSD with Photography

Michael McCoy, at age 34, has had two tours in Iraq over five years with the United States Army, and spent time at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. He was medically discharged from the Army in 2008, and has been receiving treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

“During his hospitalization, he discovered documentary photography and from that moment on it has been instrumental in helping him deal with his struggle,” says artist Jamel Shabazz, one of 12 experts who was asked by Time’s LightBox to pick 12 African American Photographers You Should Follow Right Now for Black History Month. “Since picking up the camera he has amassed a compelling body of work, showcasing everything from portraits, families, fathers and daughters, church services, and political protest. In addition to working as a freelance photographer, Michael is dedicated to helping veterans like himself battle PTSD using photography as a platform for both creativity and inter-communication.”

“On my first trip to Iraq, I would take tons of pictures to keep up the morale and to send back to friends and family,” McCoy tells TIME. “I had everything backed up to a hard drive and I lost (crashed) that hard drive, which was very hurtful because I had pictures of family members that are deceased. I realized the only thing I could do was document life in the present.”

This loss inspired him to photograph present-day problems. When Freddie Gray died while in police custody in McCoy’s hometown of Baltimore, he took to the streets to capture the aftermath as the city exploded with outrage. McCoy hopes that his imagery can produce some accountability amongst the elected representatives, “and to see that all police officers, and all protesters, aren’t bad people.”

We sat down with McCoy, whose work has been displayed and talked about in newspapers and online publications the world over, to get a sense of the man behind the camera.

PetaPixel: Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Michael McCoy. I was born and raised in Baltimore, MD. I am a U.S Army veteran. I served almost 5 years, including 2 tours of duty to Iraq.

Joining the army was always a dream of mine as a child. My grandmother lived near an army base and whenever the soldiers would drive by, I would flag them down and they would let me play around inside of the trucks. From that moment on I knew I wanted to serve my country.

Doin It For The Insta

At what point in your life did photography turn from a hobby into something more?

In 2013, I began serving in my church’s Photography Ministry. I attend the First Baptist Church of Glenarden, in Upper Marlboro, MD. While serving Christ, I began to see the impact and understand the importance of how photographs could change a person’s life in so many ways, such as bringing a person closer to Christ and later documenting the Black Lives Matter movement.

No Hate

What did your two tours in Iraq bring to your photography?

My photography is a tool that I utilize to escape the memories experienced while serving in Iraq. I use my camera as a tool to allow my feelings from my wartime experiences, to be conveyed through the subjects I photograph.

The People

Did your stay at Walter Reed Hospital impact your photography?

While being hospitalized at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, I began to notice that I was not the only person struggling with issues. Some of my Brother and Sisters in arms were struggling with physical injuries as well as mental illnesses.

While being a patient, I have learned to be grateful that I am still alive. I also learned that we all have a story and have now found a way to share my story with others just like me.

I Am

You once had an external hard drive filled with precious memories and pictures of lost family members crash. How did that affect you?

I once owned a hard drive, on which I stored photographs that I captured during my two deployments to Iraq. I also used this hard drive to store the precious memories of my mother, who passed away during my second deployment to Iraq; also my father and my 1st cousin, both of whom have passed.

Once I realized that my data was lost and that it could not be retrieved, I felt devastated. From that moment on, I made it my purpose to always back up my data onto a backup drive and to document every moment that I could.

The Big Date

Which specific moments did you document after the loss of your hard drive data?

Since the loss of my hard drive, I’ve had the opportunity to capture and document memories such as my niece’s first Christmas, the First Baptist Church of Glenarden’s 98th Church Anniversary, U.S. Capitol Shooting, and the Bill Pickett Rodeo (an African American Rodeo) just to name a few.

Body Camera

Many veterans have difficulty coping with PTSD. Has photography helped you deal with yours?

It is true that many veterans have difficulties coping with PTSD. Photography allows my mind to go to a functional place, to where I can concentrate and escape the encounters of my past experiences. Photography provides me with a sense of relief and enjoyment, which rarely occurs during most of my days.

American Dad

Freddie Gray died tragically at age 25 years in Baltimore, a city you call home. Did this spur your photography?

The tragic death of Freddie Gray really hit home for me. I am often reminded, as an African American male, that I could have been Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Terence Crutcher, or Philando Castile just to name a few of the men who have lost their lives to police violence.

As a documentarian, it is my duty to document these social issues, to bring awareness and accountability and to hold our lawmakers and police officers accountable for their actions. I know that all police officers and citizens are not bad people, just like all people from Iraq are not bad people either.

10.10.15

Time magazine named you one of the “12 African American Photographers You Should Follow Right Now” last month. How did that feel?

I was extremely surprised to be acknowledged by Time magazine. From the moment that I was notified, I felt like a kid in a candy store. After reading the email, I immediately gave thanks to God for this opportunity. It was truly an honor to be recognized by Time.

Breaking Every Chain

Who are the photographers who have inspired you?

In my photography I have studied the works of photographers such as Gordon Parks, Roy DeCarava, Jamel Shabazz and Ruddy Roye. All of these photographers have had an influence in my style of photography.

On your Facebook page you have quoted Gordon Parks: “The subject matter is so much more important than the photographer.” What does than mean to you in your photography?

I feel that, without the subject, the image does not have a meaning. Well before the evolution of technology and social media, photography has been a valuable storytelling tool used to bring awareness and document social issues and life, as we know it.

Round 1

What was your first camera, and what equipment do you shoot with nowadays?

My first camera was a Pentax K-r with an 18-55mm kit zoom lens. I currently use the Fuji X100T, which has a 23mm f/2.0 (equiv. to 35mm) lens. I also use the Fuji X-T10 with the 23mm f/1.4 (equiv. to 35mm), 35mm f/1.4 (equiv. to 50mm), and I occasionally use my 56mm f/1.2 (equiv. to 85mm).

I am a huge fan of the Fujifilm mirrorless camera system, since it’s compact and very discreet.

The Healer

You have said in the past that photography is an escape for you? How so?

Whenever I place my eye at the viewfinder and my index finger onto the shutter, it allows me to escape the memories of the trauma experienced in my two deployments to Iraq. My camera provides me a sense of relief and safety.

Does the viewfinder give you a different perspective on life?

Photography has given me a different perspective on life. The camera is a tool that allows you access to things that you normally would not experience.

Reflection External

How did you get started in photography? Was it a part of your growing up years?

As a kid, I remember my dad having an old film camera. I would load the film into the camera and begin clicking away. I didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing, but it felt good. As I got older, I began to understand the importance of how much power can be produced through an image. This is why I believe that photography is an important tool.

What Do We Want

What kind of subject matter do you like to photograph?

I like to photograph life, people.

Doing what?

Being themselves.

But, what genre of photography do you like to shoot?

I love portrait photography and documentary photography. In portrait photography I find a fulfilling joy and comfort, because it allows me to capture special moments and emotions of people. There is no better feeling than receiving/seeing your subjects’ reaction once they have seen the end result of being photographed. One single portrait has the ability to change a person’s life.

I love documentary photography because it allows me to inform, educate, and most importantly document reality in an instant, from my perspective. Documentary photography also provides the opportunity to connect and inspire people through your vision. Most importantly documentary photography provides a platform to record history for future generations to come and it can also serve as a blueprint to create a legacy.

“It’s the not the subject that interests me as much as my perception of the subject,” Roy DeCarava. Do you agree?

Yes. I believe, as photographers we document life as we see it through our eyes. My camera serves as my voice to provide the viewer a perception of how I see life.

I Can’t Believe

Where do you see yourself headed 5 years from now?

Since the Time magazine article, I have begun to receive feedback and testimonies from other veterans who use photography to cope with PTSD. I hope to continue to use photography as a tool to inspire and educate more people living with PTSD to use photography, but importantly I would like to bring awareness and to educate others about PTSD.

The Proud

Anything else you’d like to say to PetaPixel readers?

I hope this article can be a source of inspiration to all and bring more awareness to mental illness. Living with PTSD does not have a specific look. The wounds are invisible and at the end of the day the one thing that we’re looking for more than anything is love.


To see more of Michael McCoy’s work, head over to his website or follow him on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.


About the author: Phil Mistry is a photographer and teacher based in Atlanta, GA. He started one of the first digital camera classes in New York City at International Center of Photography in the 90s. He was the director and teacher for Sony/Popular Photography magazine’s DigitalDays Workshops. You can reach him via email here.

Image credits: Portrait of McCoy © Luiz Marinho. All other photos © Michael A. McCoy/Michael A. McCoy Photography

Marathon Runner Busted for Cheating Thanks to Finish Line Photo

Jane Seo, a professional food blogger, dashed through the finish line to clinch the Fort Lauderdale Half Marathon in an outstanding 1 hour and 21 minutes back on Feb 19th, beating thousands to win the 2nd place with an impressive 6:15-per-mile pace. However, she was soon revealed as a cheater by a sharp-eyed sleuth who found proof in her finish line photo.

“Suspicions arose almost immediately after Seo, who is 24 and writes regularly for The Huffington Post, crossed the finish line in the 13.1 half-marathon division Sunday,” the Miami News Times reports. “Race timer Josh Stern quickly noted that her timing chip logged unusually fast miles in the second half of the race, when runners often slow down rather than dramatically speed up.”

What Seo did not realize was that the evidence of her cheating derived victory was sitting on her Garmin wristwatch, and an enhanced digital photo could spill her ill-gotten beans.

Derek Murphy, an independent running investigator who specializes in catching cheaters, then started looking at the results. Murphy came across a photo of Seo, wearing her medal, which also showed her wearing a Garmin Forerunner 235 watch on which the race timings were still visible.

The smoking gun photo by MarathonFoto.

Zooming into the shot, Murphy realized that Seo’s watch verified her time of 1 hour 22 minutes but also showed she had covered only 11.65 miles — nearly two miles short of the full race.

Seo, educated at Harvard, wanted to legitimize her timings after the race, so afterward she accurately bicycled the entire course using her GPS watch and then posted the detailed timings of her mile-by-mile records of her grueling 13.1 miles on strava.com. But for those timings, an analysis of the flyby screen showed that the she had produced timings that were taken after the race was over.

When the evidence was revealed, Seo eventually confessed to cutting the course and was disqualified. And that’s how one cropped photo helped bust a marathon cheater.

(via Ars Technica)

Famous South African Photographer Found Guilty of Murdering Sex Worker

Well-known South African photographer Zwelethu Mthethwa has been found guilty of murdering a sex worker in a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa, in 2013.

Mthethwa received a Fulbright Scholarship to the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he received his master’s degree in imaging arts in 1989. He is among South Africa’s most famous artists and has had 35 solo exhibitions internationally. His works have been shown at important institutions around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art and the International Centre of Photography, New York; the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; and at the Venice Biennale. Mthethwa is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City.

During the trial, the prosecution presented CCTV footage linking Mthethwa to the crime scene. The footage shows the artist’s black Porsche pulling up next to 23-year-old Nokuphila Kumalo. The driver is then seen exiting the car and attacking the young woman. He killed her “by repeatedly kicking her and stomping her body with booted feet,” said the indictment. Mthethwa argued that it was not him in the video‚ and called on “gait” experts to testify that the manner in which the attacker walked did not match his style of walking. However, Judge Patricia Goliath stated in her ruling that the video furnished a “silent witness.”

Women’s rights activists rallied outside the courthouse over the course of the lengthy trial with one placard reading, “Sex workers are not your Art”.

Hugs after the guilty verdict (left), and protesters outside the courtroom (right). Photos by SWEAT.
Photo by SWEAT.

Mthethwa uses environmental portraiture, often taken in quiet domestic settings, to explore the life of migrants, farmers and miners in post-apartheid South Africa. He told PDN that in photographing marginalized South Africans in their homes, “I really wanted to empower the people.”

ArtNet reports that Mthetwas’s bail has been revoked while he awaits sentencing on March 29, 2017.


Image credits: Header photo by SWEAT.

Famous South African Photographer Found Guilty of Murdering Sex Worker

Well-known South African photographer Zwelethu Mthethwa has been found guilty of murdering a sex worker in a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa, in 2013.

Mthethwa received a Fulbright Scholarship to the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he received his master’s degree in imaging arts in 1989. He is among South Africa’s most famous artists and has had 35 solo exhibitions internationally. His works have been shown at important institutions around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art and the International Centre of Photography, New York; the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; and at the Venice Biennale. Mthethwa is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City.

During the trial, the prosecution presented CCTV footage linking Mthethwa to the crime scene. The footage shows the artist’s black Porsche pulling up next to 23-year-old Nokuphila Kumalo. The driver is then seen exiting the car and attacking the young woman. He killed her “by repeatedly kicking her and stomping her body with booted feet,” said the indictment. Mthethwa argued that it was not him in the video‚ and called on “gait” experts to testify that the manner in which the attacker walked did not match his style of walking. However, Judge Patricia Goliath stated in her ruling that the video furnished a “silent witness.”

Women’s rights activists rallied outside the courthouse over the course of the lengthy trial with one placard reading, “Sex workers are not your Art”.

Hugs after the guilty verdict (left), and protesters outside the courtroom (right). Photos by SWEAT.
Photo by SWEAT.

Mthethwa uses environmental portraiture, often taken in quiet domestic settings, to explore the life of migrants, farmers and miners in post-apartheid South Africa. He told PDN that in photographing marginalized South Africans in their homes, “I really wanted to empower the people.”

ArtNet reports that Mthetwas’s bail has been revoked while he awaits sentencing on March 29, 2017.


Image credits: Header photo by SWEAT.

How to Create a Simple DIY Smoke Effect for Product Shots

This short DIY tutorial by Caleb Pike over at DSLR Video Shooter shows you how to create a great smoke effect for your product shots or B-roll footage—no fancy smoke machine required.

Smoke is an intriguing component of photography, but it’s difficult to produce conveniently and photograph correctly. The direction and thickness of the smoke is never fully under your control and that makes photographing it a challenge. Fortunately, this little DIY technique helps you reign that pesky smoke in.

To do this at home, you’ll need a simple bulb syringe and a smoke-creating vape device made up of a battery and a tank. In Caleb’s case, he used an Eleaf iStick 50W battery attached to a Nautilus Atlantis tank, that he then filled with some kind of vaping liquid.

(Note: Caleb does NOT use liquid that contains nicotine. Nobody is encouraging smoking. Everyone’s lungs are okay. No baby seals were hurt in the making of this video.)

From that point on it’s pretty simple. You press a button on the vaping device to create the vapor, use the bulb syringe to draw it out (sparing your lungs in the process) and then apply that smoke wherever you might need it.

This simple setup is a great way to create and disperse small amounts of smoke exactly where you want it. It’s particularly useful where a big smoke machine would be overkill, filling up the room and ruining your images.

To see the simple idea in action, check out the video above. And if you like this simple tutorial, head over to the DSLR Video Shooter channel for more like it.

(via ISO 1200)

Learn Photoshop Tricks in One Minute with Adobe’s ‘Make it Now’ Series

I once read a Quora question that went, “What can I learn in one minute that will be useful for the rest of my life?” I don’t know about the rest of your life, but if you’re a photographer, head over to the Adobe Creative Cloud YouTube channel and check out their ‘Make It Now’ one-minute video tutorials on designing (not retouching) with Photoshop CC.

One of the big problems I have with watching videos on the Web is that, half the time, I get 4 minutes into a 12-minute video that seemed useful before I realize that I was, in fact, totally wrong. There’s another 4 minutes I’m never getting back…

That’s why I love super short tutorial videos like these.

How to Make a Double Exposure

How to Create a Composite

How to Create an Animated GIF

How to Make a Poster from a Template

If you’re new to Photoshop, you may find the video moves too fast for you to keep up; if that’s the case, click on the gear symbol at the bottom right of the screen and select 0.5 speed. Heck, if you want to take notes, go for 0.25 speed.

And that’s it. Congrats! You can now add “Graphic Designer” to your LinkedIn profile! Okay maybe not…

(via Fstoppers)