Automated Digital Photo Collage: An Algorithmic Art Project
The Automated Digital Photo Collage is an art project written in Python. The ADPC generates photographic collages algorithmically. It takes a sequence of images, compares areas for difference, and combines the images into an aggregative time-lapse.
Tommy Mintz, Bio
I am a lifelong New York City resident. I graduated from Hunter College Elementary and High Schools, Sarah Lawrence College (BA 1999) and CUNY Queens College (MFA 2005). I am currently an Assistant Professor of Photography at CUNY Kingsborough Community College.
My work draws upon the aesthetics and concepts of street photography, collage, mapping, and digital culture. Most recently, I’ve been working on the Automated Digital Photo Collage, an algorithm that analyses sequential images for differences and generates a collage. I’m interested in our evolving tension with the digital world - particularly digital photography and its effect on our understanding of ourselves. How do our individual memory and collective understanding change through spending increasing amounts of time interacting with digital images? By using algorithmic photography in both the landscape and street traditions, I hope to raise questions of our understanding, perception, and memory of contemporary spaces.
One photograph describes a place in a moment of time. Combining multiple photographs into a single image can convey the passage of time in a place. Many notable artists meticulously stitch photographs together into a seamless illusion of an extended moment. I am interested in the seams that arise when combining images algorithmically instead of by hand. The decisions the algorithms come to are different and strange things are included in the image that a human would not decide to include. Where the incongruities arise, there are interesting new forms created, natural to the digital image.
As a born and raised New Yorker, these days of increased construction and the radical change in the urban landscape has made me ever more aware of the fleeting moments of place.
My most well known project, The New York City Public Toilet Map, 2008, drew on my experiences as a street photographer and the universal need for publicly accessible restrooms. I researched, designed, and printed the pocket-sized New York City Public Toilet Map, which was unveiled at the Jewish Museum, as part of the performance ”Uncle Bob's Variety Show”. The map sold hundreds of copies and was reviewed in the New York Times City Room blog, Boingboing, and Gothamist. I also walked around Times Square with a sign selling the maps to passersby.
I am also a member of the artist’s collective, The Institute for Wishful Thinking, a group of artists who advocate solving public problems by calling upon the creativity of artists and designers