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Eyes on the Ground: EyeEm 2016

by Marie-Louise Sadakane
September 23, 2016

Our Berlin MD shares her takeaways on the relationship between technology, art and photography from this year's EyeEm Festival.

EyeEm is a Berlin-based technology company and creative community of over 18 million photographers sharing more than 70 million photos. The EyeEm Photography Festival & Awards 2016 is festival that’s all about celebrating this community. In attendance were 500 guests, all connected to the creative industry, eagerly awaiting an inspiring afternoon with great speakers and an award show to honor the photographer of the year.

The conference consisted of three different chapters - with the first chapter covering the topic of photography. A wide range of speakers made an appearance, and a standout among them was Sam Cannon, an artist and director from New York City. They all shared their views on the various layers of photography, what impact it can have and how you can – especially in Sam Cannon’s case, turn it into captivating and meaningful short video clips with a little help from technology.

credit: Sam Cannon,

The second chapter was all about technology and its role in art and photography. Loïc Baboulaz, co-founder and Chief Science Officer of showcased their disruptive solution that enables highly accurate digitizations of artworks. The company’s portable scanner captures gigabytes of data, documenting the art in its finest details. The result is a true-to-life HD visualization using 3D topography and virtual relighting - allowing relighting of the digital replica in real time and from any angle. Imagine re-discovering any artwork, literally diving into a painting, or feeling the intent behind every brushstroke.


Afterwards Sam Winiger, who calls himself a compassionate alien and thinker, talked about new patterns for creation and applying Machine Learning to creativity. In other words: Creative AI. He mentioned we live in a time where “science fiction authors are struggling to keep up with reality.” Most people fear the development of Assisted Creation (“Lowering the barrier between novice and experts”) and Generative Creativity (“Making things that make things”). Seeing it through Sam´s eyes was amazing. On the one hand disturbing, on the other hand a reminder that it’s already happening all around us and that we should open up for it - and not fear the debate. This is particular stuck out to me as at B-Reel we engage our clients and customers by showing them powerful and playful ways to adapt to new possibilities.

The last speaker of the day was Mr. Toledano, whose work is primarily socio-political and varies in medium from photography to installations. When one day, he felt like his career as a CD in the advertising industry wasn’t going anywhere - he decided it was time for a change. For him, everything starts with an idea, of which he had so many running through his head. His artwork is based on highly engaging storytelling with a touch of advertising - a wonderful and frightening mix of creativity.

credit: Mr. Toleando, The Absent Portrait,

The winner of the annual EyeEm Photo Award, Zacharie Rabehi from France, tells stories in hopes of keeping people’s focus on social injustice around the globe.  

credit: Zacharie Rabehi, From Lesbos to Calais,

The more I listened to the talks, the more I realised my takeaway was that in the end, it’s not about the medium, it’s about ideas - the core of every story. I like approaching technology as an enabler. At the core of every story needs to be an idea. Combining ideas with the medium and technology creates truly unlimited potential.

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