Shoshone Falls

Timothy H. O’Sullivan
Shoshone Falls, Snake River, Idaho, View across the Top of the Falls, 1874
Albumen silver print
Smithsonian American Art Museum.

This is a photograph of an iconic location in the history of Western landscape photography. The 19th Century photographer Timothy O’Sullivan famously shot these falls on a survey mission for the American Department of War. His images of this waterfall are some of his most iconic works and some of the most well-known images of western landscape photography in general. My image is a close-up of the falls, with two computer vision algorithms overlaid on it. One algorithm is looking for points that imply the existence of underlying lines, a computer vision technique used in selfdriving cars and in robotics more generally. The second algorithm is finding shapes in the waterfall that it believes are faces.

Shoshone Falls
Hough Transform; Haar, 2017
Silver gelatin print
48 × 60 in.