The story hiding in every corner

Digital photography is facing a revolution, thanks to technologies being developed at Open Lab.

Four Corners allows the photographer to add context to their photographs and is a collaboration between Open Lab, the World Press Photo Foundation, based in Amsterdam, and the International Centre for Photography, New York.

Four Corners shows the reader before and after frames, the backstory, technical and copyright information and links to even more. All of this is accessed by rolling over or swiping through the four corners of the picture.

The project has been described as the biggest step forward for photography since the caption.

Jonathan Worth, a researcher at Open Lab, described Four Corners as “a great authoring tool.”

“It enables photographers to include much more contextual information with their pictures which readers can use to explore the story,” he explains.

“Part of our next steps are to enable the subject of that photograph to get involved and add their voice to the story too.”

This will be via Four Corners Plus, where readers and subjects can add their own perspectives and even attach audio and video content to the photograph. Four Corners Plus gives the reader control over how they filter this new material, and can also see how the photograph has been altered from the photographer’s original – something which has enormous implications for improving trust and reliability within the media.

This ability to verify authenticity and provenance of photographs has never been possible but by using distributed ledger technologies (such as those that BitCoin is built on) researchers at Open Lab have, for the first time in the history of photography, found a way.

“In a low-trust world it’s more important than ever to know the source and provenance of information,” said Jeff Brazil, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. “This is a simple, elegant solution.”

Tom Bartindale, a researcher at Open Lab, added: “Giving journalists the chance to contextualise their images gives readers a richer understanding of the story. We want users to be able to contribute their own content and know where the information is coming from.”

“Four Corners is a major advance in visual journalism, giving photographers and editors a new way of easily providing context to important images,” says Lars Boering, Managing Director of World Press Photo Foundation. The project has now been presented at the World Press Photo Award Ceremony in Amsterdam and the International Centre of Photography in New York.

Four Corners is available as a free and open source download now and Four Corners Plus is planned for release in early 2017.

For more information, please contact Jonathan Worth.