DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY: How do we Quantify Beauty?

Thursday, October 04th 2018


17:30 – 21:30 (CEST)

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At least once, everybody has felt enchanted by a stunning sunset, an exciting concerto or a charming portrait, took out his smartphone and captured the moment in a picture. In 2017, 1.2 trillion pictures have been taken and posted on social networks thanks to the development of digital photography integrated in smartphones. The word “digitalization” itself leads us to think about numbers and algorithms, bringing us back to our innate urge of quantification. But can we quantify beauty? Is it possible to relate such divergent concepts?

The aim of this event is to gather complementary points of view about the possibility to understand beauty in a quantitative manner. We will hear different voices all focus on the quest of aesthetics in the modern era. Are you interested in? Join us on October 4th in Room SV1717 at EPFL. 

Together with this exchange of perspectives, there will be a photographic contest “When aesthetics meets innovation”. The contest is open to everyone working in the innovation and artistic fields, including students and staff from EPFL, UNIL and ECAL. The best 10 pictures will be printed and exposed during the event. The fourth, third and second laureates will be awarded with a voucher for professional photo printing to be used at Art Factory Graphic, with a value of 100.-, 200.- and 300.- CHF respectively. Finally the creator of the best picture will be awarded with a compact camera Sony HX90V with Zeiss 30x zoom.

The submission deadline is September 30th.


So hurry and register! All the competition details can be found here: link.





Welcome by Innovation Forum Lausanne


Sabine Süsstrunk – “Time(s) and Images”


Appu Shaji – “Recording the Visual Mind”


Health break


Pascal Richard – “How Market Leaders Face Todays Challenges and Shape the Future of Digital Imaging”


Chris Schmid – “WILD”


Photo contest prize giving & closing remarks


Light apéro dinner & networking


Prof. Sabine Süsstrunk leads the Images and Visual Representation Lab in the School of Computer and Communication Sciences (IC) at EPFL since 1999. Since 2015, she is also Director of the Digital Humanities Institute (DHI) and Digital Humanities Section (SoDH), College of the Humanities (CdH). Her main research areas are in computational imaging, computational photography, color image processing and computer vision, multimedia, and computational image quality and aesthetics. Sabine has authored and co-authored over 150 publications, of which 7 have received best paper/demo awards, and holds 10 patents.

Sabine served as chair or committee member in many international conferences on color imaging, digital photography, and image systems engineering. She is President and member of the board of the EPFL-WISH (Women in Science and Humanities) Foundation, member of the Foundation Council of the SNSF (Swiss National Science Foundation), and member of the board of the SRG SSR (Swiss Radio and Television). She received the IS&T/SPIE 2013 Electronic Imaging Scientist of the Year Award for her contributions to color imaging, computational photography, and image quality. Sabine is a Fellow of IEEE and IS&T.

Sony Ambassador and represented by National Geographic Creative, Chris Schmid, has dedicated his life to documenting the natural beauty of our planet. His photographs are an invitation to discover the world with wide eyes and vibrant enthusiasm. His aim is always the same: to approach nature right at its heart in order to raise awareness around the fragility of our earth and inspire action to preserve it.

Specializing in wildlife and documentary photojournalism, the quality of Chris’ work is reflected in the widespread recognition he has received. His photographs have been published in magazines such as National Geographic, BBC and GEO, and he has won numerous awards for his photography. But these prizes have never been his motivation. His tireless efforts to document and protect the few remaining areas of wilderness are fueled by a love for the natural world and a desire to protect what's left.

I am the CEO and Chief Scientist at Mobius Labs. We want to democratize computer vision. We are currently in stealth.

Previously I was the Head of R&D of EyeEm. At EyeEm we want to index world's photograph. In my group, we are taking a shot in solving photographic search by solving various visual classification and ranking problems ( for eg: ). The group ranged between a pure research and industrial lab, with a strong emphasis on algorithmic/machine learning innovations, with a strong emphasis in translating our work in products that solve photographers' problems ( for example: , a pure computer vision driven product).

Previously I co-founded , where we developed technology to rate images based on computational aesthetics. was acquired by EyeEm on March 2014.

I was previously employed as a postdoc at Image and Visual Representation Group (IVRG) at EPFL, Lausanne, and also had held post-doc positions at Computer Vision Lab (CVLAB). I did my PhD from Computer Science and Engineering Department at IIT Bombay.

Being passionate about both, still and moving pictures, my goal is to support business wherever it take place, from the customer or the company side.

My competence for the Pro Business is based on my previous career as a photographer, understanding the needs of my customers and the importance of products when used in a professional way or environment.

Starting my career in the Imaging Industry working for Nikon, I was able to endorse positions such as Editor in Chief of the European customer magazine, or Manager of the Nikon Professional Services. As such I was responsible to advise not only the right products to national agencies, Newspapers and photographers but also to deliver customised services to B2B and vertical markets, including Education, Security, and Health.

My solution oriented approach allowed me to realise projects like the existing Nikon School, Ambassador and Professional Students Program.

I decided to enlarge my field of action, by joining Canon in 2014 as Key Account Manager Pro Business for Photo and Video delivering products and solutions from capture to print. After successful launches of new products such as the Canon 5DsR or the Canon EOS Cinema C300MKII, I continue develop the direct and customise approach for current and future customers in the Pro Imaging department as Segment Developer in Education an Healthcare for the DACH Region.

During this assignment I realize and launched the new Canon Education Online Platform, a novelty in the European approach of the vertical Segments.

Today my Goal is to deliver the best possible Service to professional Photographers who choose Sony as the brand for their work and images.


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