5 min read

Pixel #1: Shallow Dive Photos

Featuring news, links and opinion from across the Pixelverse
Pixel #1: Shallow Dive Photos


Welcome to the Dead Pixels newsletter. This week we're peering into Michael Christopher Brown's soul and asking if photojournalism is ok. We're also excited to discover that NASA is still busy doing weird mystical stuff and photographing it gorgeously. And have you ever wondered what Ted Cruz would look like if he was made of fabulous instead of malice and cowardice? That and more, after the fold.

/imagine the horrifying series of words Michael Christopher Brown had to type into Midjourney AI in order to begin the cursed seance which resulted in this image

Our Man Not In Havana

Is There Anything Further From Solidarity Than An NFT?

Unless you like to spend your spare time conjuring up images of brown bodies in mortal peril, this week's feature article might take a bit of getting used to. We join the growing queue of people weirded out by 90 Miles, the new crypto grift project by former photojournalist Michael Christopher Brown. He uses Midjourney AI to imagine the pain of others, and in the process inadvertently reveals an uncomfortable amount about how photojournalism sees the world. Mind you, 10% of proceeds from the sale of the NFTs will go to "charities working with Cuban refugees". Magical stuff.

Amazing video alert

Turns out LIDAR can be used for music videos?!
This video, which seems to have been made with laser imaging, detection, and ranging (LIDAR) tech, feels like the next step on a journey which also includes Hockney's early photo collages. Alina Lupu is also using a similar style to create strangely hyperreal images here.

NASA Is Still Alive

And still costs less than buying Twitter

NASA's annual Pictures Of The Year awards have been announced and they're as amazing as ever, as well as being more American than a bald eagle playing electric guitar in a muscle car in a devastated landscape. Go take a look, they're worth it! (Via the ever-inspiring artisanal swears of Matt Muir over at Web Curios.)

Boris Eldagsen Appreciation

Sony World Photography Awards 2023 | boris eldagsen
photo & video art | installation

It's got everything- the bungled hands, the obviously leading title, the janky DOF - so obviously it's pleasing to see Sony awarding Eldagsen's The Electrician as a photograph and then, when the trick was revealed, pulling a reverse Book-Of-Veles and claiming that they gave it the award because they knew it was AI-generated. But the whole debate is so pleasing because Boris is not some hayseed who figured out how to use Discord. He's a thoughtful photographer-turned-prompt engineer (or, as he says, a "promptographer") who knows his onions and wants to have the conversation that Photoland is trying to avoid, namely, what photography actually is in the age of the generated image. He's not alarmist, not a doomer, he's a teacher who just knows that the future arrives whether we like it or not. Every photo show and festival and symposium happening right now has names like "Tomorrowography" or "Imag(in)e" but then when this absolute champ goes ahead and takes a swing at it, everybody's shouting. Hop over to his blog to read a full account of the story.

Sudanese Photographers to Follow

We're appalled to see Khartoum descending into violence the past few days. It seems there is no nation whose people are more different to their government than Sudan, as we were reminded at Arles 2021. Here are some worthwhile Sudanese instagram accounts:

Ala Khier

Muhammad Salah

Ahmed Khalid

Saad Abdelsalam Mahmoud Ibrahim Al-Tani

Duha Mohammed

Aymen Mustafa

Metche Ja'afar

Salih Bashir

And some Sudanese rap, courtesy of Esaam Satti:

The Link Garden

RuPublicans is basically a very fancy version of satirical cartoons, in this case showing American Republican senators imagined instead as their truly fabulous inner drag queens. Worth a click, a rare example of a positive use for this tech.

It's really sad that the main collections of Ojeikere's work are all held in the US (and this tweet is from the Tate in the UK) but the great thing about photographs on the internet is that we can see them anyway. Want to see more? The much-missed curator Bisi Silva made a great monograph, and worked with him for five years. Here's an interview with her. Fun fact: it took Ojeikere two years of writing the same letter to Nigeria's Ministry of Information every fifteen days before they relented and gave him a job.

Colorising the Past: an interesting archive of colourised images of queer and trans life. During the height of the BLM protests lots of people pointed out that much of the imagery of the civil rights movement being used in media at the time was black and white, lending a false historicity to a movement which occurred well within living memory. That led us to remembering this weird project, and then down a rabbit hole ending up at this surprisingly engaging USA Today blog factchecking some social media posts.

While reviews of All Light, Everywhere are pretty mixed, the accompanying website is absolutely astonishing from top to bottom. It charts and cross-references every single media object featured in the documentary, resulting in an archive which is uniquely accessible as well as very complex. Worth spending a slow Sunday morning fiddling with.

I haven't read much by James Meek but based on this piece I hope to read a lot more. An examination of the combatant's role as producer of their own war movie, and of how cameraphone videographers are using the battlefield as their set and creating footage whose purposes are not yet clear. Lucid, beautiful, and unsettling to read.

Final Thought: AI might be coming for your job, but for now that's only if you make commercials in hell. What do you mean that's a pretty broad category?

That's it for this edition of the newsletter. If you've got something to share, something to say or something to promote, send us a mail!