A word is worth a thousand pictures

I’m intrigued by a few examples I’ve come across lately that downgrade (to an interesting effect) the visual to the textual.

On Twitter, two feeds that take image-specific services and simply describe them in a few words.

  • PicturelessPinterest offers “The best of Pinterest without having to look at the pictures.” (sample tweets: Overexposed picture of a bride walking through a white hallway; A recipe for rhubarb-lemon curd yogurt; Dining room table set up on a beach)
  • Text-Only Instagram is “Your personal Instagram feed in a lightweight text format.” (sample tweets: Tilt-shift fortune cookie; Latte with foam shaped like a heart; Four self-portraits of a teenage girl separated by white lines.)

Descriptive Camera is a camera that captures an image and then obtains a typed description of the contents. Example: Looks like a cupboard which is ugly and old having name plates on it with a study lamp attached to it.

After the shutter button is pressed, the photo is sent to Mechanical Turk for processing and the camera waits for the results. A yellow LED indicates that the results are still “developing” in a nod to film-based photo technology. With a HIT price of $1.25, results are returned typically within 6 minutes and sometimes as fast as 3 minutes. The thermal printer outputs the resulting text in the style of a polaroid print.

I love people hacking together some bit of technology (or a technology-enabled experience) to drive just a bit of reflection on what we might take for granted.

Bonus deconstruction: garfield minus garfield


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