Monday, January 11, 2010

Picture Blog #9 : Droste Effect - The Math Art

This term 'Droste' may be unfamiliar to you but you will soon find out, the pictures are not.

The 'Droste effect' refers to a way of capturing images in a loop and never-ending manner. This little story helps to illustrates the concept:

"Once upon a time, there was an old monk who lived in an old temple with a little monk. He told the little monk a little story and he said, 'Once upon a time, there was an old monk who... ' and he went on and on." .'

The story goes into a loop and never ends.
The Droste effect in imagery can similarly tell a never ending story in a picture.

Imagine a picture of yourself holding picture in your hand. The picture in your hand similarly shows the same picture of yourself holding a picture in your hand and it goes on, only reducing in size.

Theoretically, the loop effect can go into infinity. However, realistically, the resolution and the size of the image would have put a cap to the effect.

The term 'Droste' is coined from an advertisement of 'Droste cocoa powder' from the Netherlands, which showed an image of a nurse carrying a a box of cocoa powder of the same brand with the same image (above).

From a mathematical perspective, pictures with Droste effect are said to be recursive. So, if you you like, you can call Droste effect pictures, 'Math Art'.

In this digital age, the Droste effect grows in its sophistication. Here are 25 examples. Hold on to your seat and do not get disoriented.

"You don't take a photograph, you make it."
~Ansel Adams~

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