IEEE will no longer accept Playboy's "Lenna" image for image processing research

Alfonso Maruccia

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A hot potato: Simply known as "Lenna," the test image was scanned by Alexander Sawchuk at the University of Southern California's Signal and Image Processing Institute in 1973. It's been used in research papers about image processing since then, but now the time has come to retire this piece of fortuitous standard in digital beauty.

Lena Forsén, the Swedish model depicted in the notorious Lenna image, was shot by Dwight Hooker and appeared as the centerfold of the November 1972 issue of Playboy magazine. The Lenna image was cropped and then used by researchers because of its high contrast and detail level, appearing in several papers about image processing throughout the last three decades of the past century.

The IEEE Computer Society, which describes itself as the largest global community of computer scientists and engineers, recently sent an email to its members saying that it will not accept new research papers that include the Lenna image. The organization is committed to promoting an "inclusive and equitable" culture that welcomes all, the mail states, and the objectification of women is no longer an accepted practice.

Also read: How JPEG Image Compression Works

After April 1, IEEE's committee members and reviewers should look for the Lenna image in any new submitted research and ask authors to replace it. Lenna has been part of computing research history for a long time, but things have changed. Even Lena Forsén, who is now 73, expressed her intention to "retire" from her unlikely (and mostly unwilling) role in the tech industry.

In 2019, a promotional film named Losing Lena described Lenna as a remarkable representation of many of the computer industry's shortcomings. The face "more studied than the Mona Lisa" contributed to the creation of the algorithm adopted by the still-ubiquitous JPEG image format, but it was ultimately part of a biased culture promoted by a "small subset of homogenous individuals."

Forsén was seemingly amused when she discovered that her face and complexion were being used as a test subject for image research, and Playboy decided to overlook the copyright violation to exploit the phenomenon. In the Losing Lena documentary, Lena expresses her intention to "retire from tech" after she had been long retired from modeling.

Despite its widespread use, Lenna has always attracted significant criticism in the research community. Nature has banned the image since 2018, and the new stance expressed by the IEEE Computer Society will likely make this historical piece of digital content even more controversial (and undesirable) among experts.

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"The organization is committed to promoting an "inclusive and equitable" culture that welcomes all, the mail states, and the objectification of women is no longer an accepted practice."

Woke everywhere all the time. Let's idolize the ugly, relativize crime, encourage unhealthy habits and so on. Then, that's why so many people have died throughout history to raise up this "modern" society, how fantastic.
 
"The organization is committed to promoting an "inclusive and equitable" culture that welcomes all, the mail states, and the objectification of women is no longer an accepted practice."

Except...when women objectify themselves on OnlyFools, then it's Strong and Empowering (tm), and if you dont support that then you are a BIGAT. So the IEEE is ACTUALLY denying a Strong and Brave woman's Independence by denying her playboy images. As usual, the "diversity equity and inclusion" mindset requires EXCLUDING everyone they dont like to function.
 
Who cares?

"Hot" women and men and those who desire them(damn near everyone) will never go away, like every other thing thats rare in life and hard to acquire its just one of those odd goals, most of us will never probably get a 10(for fun or otherwise) but its fine to look upon it wonder.

theres a reason stellar blade is easy articles for gaming sites, and its not for the gameplay...

 
I want some Einstein-level researcher to submit a ground breaking paper with these forbidden images or words just for the publication to not publish it. "Sorry, even if E=mc^2, you misgendered a function on page 3. Rejected."
 
She wasn't exploited... her career was MADE by Playboy - thanks to that photo shoot, she made a name for herself... as for being remunerated for the use of the photo - it belonged (and still belongs) to Playboy.

Playboy chose not to sue over its use because they gained more popularity from it.

As for it not being "inclusive"... well, it was being used for its high contrast as well... different skin colour wouldn't have worked. Yes, she's female - but if it was a white male model, does that make it better?
 
I remember seeing this picture for the first time back in the 90's in college. I never gave it two thoughts why it was used in image processing as a test image. It just came across as a complex image with a lot of detail, yet had this soft realistic feel to it. It was just one of several standard images that people used for comparison, like a bowl of fruit. I mean, sure it is a beautiful woman, is that version of the picture really that big of a deal? I never thought so, but I also never new it was a playboy model.

That said, I never looked for the full version of that picture until today. Without the cropping, it is definitely a lot more risque and I can see why it offends some people.
https://womenlovetech.com/losing-lena-why-we-need-to-remove-one-image-and-end-techs-original-sin/

I would also like to point out that Lena asked for the image to not be used any more, so its not completely about being woke or not.
“I retired from modelling a long time ago,” said Lena in a new documentary film called Losing Lena. “It’s time I retired from tech, too. We can make a simple change today that creates a lasting change for tomorrow. Let’s commit to losing me.”

Times change and I think it is okay to move away from this image. At this point, the image is more about nostalgia than it is some irreplaceable piece of artwork.
 
Who cares, another non-issue made huge waves because somewhere in some office a zealot of somesort felt compelled to go to war…
 
I remember seeing this picture for the first time back in the 90's in college. I never gave it two thoughts why it was used in image processing as a test image. It just came across as a complex image with a lot of detail, yet had this soft realistic feel to it. It was just one of several standard images that people used for comparison, like a bowl of fruit. I mean, sure it is a beautiful woman, is that version of the picture really that big of a deal? I never thought so, but I also never new it was a playboy model.

That said, I never looked for the full version of that picture until today. Without the cropping, it is definitely a lot more risque and I can see why it offends some people.
https://womenlovetech.com/losing-lena-why-we-need-to-remove-one-image-and-end-techs-original-sin/

I would also like to point out that Lena asked for the image to not be used any more, so its not completely about being woke or not.
“I retired from modelling a long time ago,” said Lena in a new documentary film called Losing Lena. “It’s time I retired from tech, too. We can make a simple change today that creates a lasting change for tomorrow. Let’s commit to losing me.”

Times change and I think it is okay to move away from this image. At this point, the image is more about nostalgia than it is some irreplaceable piece of artwork.
Don't know why the image would offend anybody. There are statues and paintings all over Europe depicting nudes of all sorts. Why do those not offend?
 
Don't know why the image would offend anybody. There are statues and paintings all over Europe depicting nudes of all sorts. Why do those not offend?
But they DO! Go to the Vatican and see all the nude sculptures - but with the “naughty bits” covered with fig leaves…

Many people (generally influenced by religious values) think that the human body is inherently bad - especially anything to do with sex.

But this is not really relevant to this topic. Lena’s image is cropped - her face happens to be perfect when it comes to contrast and stuff for PC imaging.

No one is “objectifying” her when using this image. Just a bunch of people trying to make an issue out of nothing.
 
I get it if any of this new "research" was on a full body NSFW image, but if they're talking about the headshot as pictured above, have they seen what a typical Instagram feed looks like? And btw I'm no expert but I believe this type of glamor image is most commonly posted and viewed by women.
 
On tech grounds , there are much better images . This image though very good at time , fails in some areas

It is a very good photograph from a photography perspective

Really amazing people getting upset over this phasing out.

Saying playboy wasn't sued is irrelevant - using legality as a defense to being respectful is not a good basis

I think many know how the song "Amazing Grace: came about

Just because you have might and "right" gracious is a beautiful concept

Try and live your lives with grace and decency . It's not about legality it's about personal respect for who you want to be . You as a powerful strong white guy don't have to give your seat up to that elderly man , you have paid for a seat , first come first serve old guy . You don't have to wait to children eat first at a meet.

Can someone angry here please explain why that overcomes respect and graciousness

Are you a hypocrite?
Do you support MAGA?
what is MAGA? was it a time of being respectful and showing decency . Or was it a time of white might and to the ruling class go the spoils , where women , POC knew their place?
 
I think the major issue people have is the “woke” wording or reasoning used in the withdrawal.

If it was on technical grounds, an update so the logarithms are not skewed etc. certainly if the person no longer wants it used thats a reason.

But the crap about inclusiveness has nothing to do with the technical reasons the image was used.

No I’m not a MAGA supporter, but if I was in that country, I think I’d take the option of not voting as there is no apparent good choice.
 
Sad world we live in… an image of beautiful, healthy and consenting woman is offensive….
The only logical explanation is that being healthy doesn't suit the “health”-care industry. There is no money in healthy people, so the unhealthy must be promoted and encouraged.
 
The people who don't like this change don't have any skin in the game. This imposes literally zero burden on any academic writing a paper.

The original model (Lena Forsén) says it's time to move on, there are plenty of other images that don't have any societal baggage on them, and if a paper can demonstrate their point on that image they can demonstrate it on others.

The "technical reasons" the image was used are basically none. Yes, the image had good color contrast for the time (there were plenty of other choices, by the way). But, the real reason it was used was because of it's origins in a Playboy magazine. Because of the color contrast, it caught on. That's it. The current use of the photo is just a distraction. It's time to move on.

I get it if any of this new "research" was on a full body NSFW image, but if they're talking about the headshot as pictured above, have they seen what a typical Instagram feed looks like? And btw I'm no expert but I believe this type of glamor image is most commonly posted and viewed by women.
This is a cropped shot from a full body NSFW image. If a cropped headshot is required, there are plenty of choices that don't require using this image.

"The organization is committed to promoting an "inclusive and equitable" culture that welcomes all, the mail states, and the objectification of women is no longer an accepted practice."

Except...when women objectify themselves on OnlyFools, then it's Strong and Empowering (tm), and if you dont support that then you are a BIGAT. So the IEEE is ACTUALLY denying a Strong and Brave woman's Independence by denying her playboy images. As usual, the "diversity equity and inclusion" mindset requires EXCLUDING everyone they dont like to function.
There is no exclusion here. Did you skip the parts where Lena Forsén wasn't compensated for the use of this image, has stated she no longer wishes for this image to be used in research, and that Playboy ignored the copyright violation so that it would be promoted? Academics don't need to be distracted by this kind of history when reading a paper. Best case it's a distraction, worst case it's offensive. Doesn't matter which it is to a single person, Nature and IEEE have decided (rightly so) that there's enough other options out there that we don't need to worry about it - just don't use this image and problem solved.

No one is “objectifying” her when using this image. Just a bunch of people trying to make an issue out of nothing.
If it's nothing, then there should be no objection to changing the image for another one and banning the use of this one, the use of which is not nothing to some.
 
If it's nothing, then there should be no objection to changing the image for another one and banning the use of this one, the use of which is not nothing to some.
If it's nothing, then let researchers use ANY picture they want... I'm sure plenty were already using different ones... this became a story for dumb reasons.
 
Who cares?

"Hot" women and men and those who desire them(damn near everyone) will never go away, like every other thing thats rare in life and hard to acquire its just one of those odd goals, most of us will never probably get a 10(for fun or otherwise) but its fine to look upon it wonder.

theres a reason stellar blade is easy articles for gaming sites, and its not for the gameplay...
True, and yet what is "hot" is also determined by what is seen the most, see advertisement. And even if that was not the case, we don't want software like AI being that biased, either for or against anything. I agree that bans themselves really are not the best tool, but I still have not read a comment anywhere on this thread that offers a non-ban solution. Just lots of posturing...
 
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