Computational Exploration of Digital Images
288 pp., 6 x 9 in, 26 b&w illus.
- Published: October 17, 2023
- Publisher: The MIT Press
A new theory and methodology for the application of computer vision methods to the computational analysis of collected, digitized visual materials, called “distant viewing.”
Distant Viewing: Computational Exploration of Digital Images presents a new theory and methodology for the computational analysis of digital images, offering a lively, constructive critique of computer vision that you can actually use. What does it mean to say that computer vision “understands” visual inputs? Annotations never capture a whole image. The way digital images convey information requires what researchers Taylor Arnold and Lauren Tilton call “distant viewing”—a play on the well-known term “distant reading” from computational literary analysis.
Recognizing computer vision's limitations, Arnold and Tilton's spirited examination makes the technical exciting by applying distant viewing to the sitcoms Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie, movie posters and other popular forms of advertising, and Dorothea Lange's photography. In the tradition of visual culture studies and computer vision, Distant Viewing's interdisciplinary perspective encompasses film and media studies, visual semiotics, and the sciences to create a playful, accessible guide for an international audience working in digital humanities, data science, media studies, and visual culture studies.
Arnold and Tilton take us on an exhilarating visual journey from the Dust Bowl to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, offering keen theoretical insight and methodological inspiration every step of the way.”
Lauren Klein, Winship Distinguished Research Professor, Emory University; coauthor of Data Feminism and coeditor of Debates in the Digital Humanities
“Distant Viewing offers a smart, timely, and accessible analysis that takes both computer vision technologies and human visual culture truly seriously. It's essential reading for those interested in the newest trends in digital humanities research.”
Elizabeth Losh, Duane A. and Virginia S. Dittman Professor of English and American Studies, William & Mary; author of Selfie Democracy, Hashtag, and The War on Learning
“Distant Viewing provides invaluable examples for future research in both computing technology and the humanities through its new methodology, which harnesses computer vision while still accounting for its biases and limitations.”
Holly Rushmeier, John C. Malone Professor of Computer Science, Yale University