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Links 1 through 4 of 4 by Tom Armitage tagged perception

"It's funny, but from the 1890s and until the First World War, photographers prized lenses for their unsharpness: when artists found the lenses that gave them just the right degree and quality of unsharpness, they treasured them like jewels. This attitude survived until the 1940s among portrait photographers. The unsharpness of their lenses of choice was considered by many portraitists an indivisible part of their aesthetic signature." Mike Johnston on the taste for sharpness of portrait lenses.

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"This is why I tell people over and over again: you cannot trust what you see even with your own eyes. Your eyes are not cameras faithfully taking pictures of absolute truth of all that surrounds you. They have filters, and your brain has to interpret the jangled mess it gets fed. Colors are not what they appear, shapes are not what they appear (that zoomed image above is square, believe it or not), objects are not what they appear." This is crazy - and one of the few optical illusions I've seen that still works when zoomed-in super close. It's so hard to make head or tail of.

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In 2000, a group of seventh-graders were asked to draw what they thought scientists looked like and describe their pictures. Then, after visting Fermilab, they were asked to repeat the exercise. Some of the quotations are genuinely excellent, cf "Some people think that (scientists) are just some genius nerds in white coats, but they are actually people who are trying to live up to their dreams and learn more." Aren't we all?

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"We showed thousands of random colors like this to people on Mechanical Turk and asked what they would call them. Here’s what they said [...]"

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