I think about clouds a lot. They’re really strange things – on one hand, humans have gone to great lengths to characterize different kinds of clouds, creating intricate cloud atlases and taxonomies. On the other hand, when we look at clouds we tend to imagine them taking different shapes – faces, animals, and whatnot. And of course, Alfred Stieglitz’ photographs of clouds are widely narrated as some of the first examples of abstraction in photography.
As part of my ongoing study of how computer vision and AI systems “see” the world, I have a series of works that look at clouds through the “eyes” of various computer vision algorithms. The cloud formations shown in these works are overlaid with strokes and lines depicting what various computer vision algorithms are “seeing” in the images. Different algorithms are designed to look for faces, unique key points, lines, circles, areas of interest, and are attempting to simplify the underlying photograph into a series of sections.
These algorithms used in this series of works are found in technologies such as guided missiles and drones, autonomous surveillance systems, self-driving cars, facial recognition, 3-D modeling, and in many other computer vision contexts.