Each day we process hundreds of images from our sessions and turn them over to clients in a digital form or upload to companies for printing purposes. The history of how this digital upload started is quite interesting, coming into the light just after the recent passing of the Playboy creator himself, Hugh Hefner. He left behind a surprising contribution to photographers everywhere.
Joint Photographic Experts Group or more commonly known as the JPEG, was created by group of researchers at University of Southern California in the department of Image Processing Institute (SIPI). Assistant Professor Alexander Sawchuk and the team were looking for an image, preferably with a human face, for digital processing when someone walked in with a copy of the 1972 Playboy Magazine.
Lena Söderberg was Miss November and the centerfold image for Playboy Magazine. She is well known as the "First Lady of the Internet" and rightly so as her image has also become one of the most widely used for testing image processing algorithms. Swift on Security wrote that "Lena is perhaps, and may remain, the most analyzed image in the history of the world."
This image was one of the first ever to be uploaded to the Internet in regards to testing image process compression. The image itself was cut to fit the 512 x 512 Muirhead wirephoto scanner, in turn leaving the original look cropped at the shoulders in what we now recognize today according to Writer Brett Williams. The final image turned into digital lines of red, blue, and green. Other researchers started to test it and the image became widely known for helping engineers understand how to achieve better compression rates. While the major talk about Hefner's passing might be balanced between the magazine being an loved versus hated, you have to admit that this a a big contribution even if accidental to the modern day photographer.
[via Design Taxi]