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Lytro burst onto the scene in mid-2011 with the introduction of a promising photography technology that allowed users to snap photos without having to first lock down the focus. By capturing the light field, users could manipulate photos after the fact and create “living pictures” that could be refocused at will.
The problem, as you likely know by now, is that Lytro never really caught on as a consumer camera maker and later shifted its focus to virtual reality and cinema photography. Its special image hosting site was left intact but that has since changed.
On November 30, Lytro discontinued its pictures.lytro.com website. This means that users are no longer able to upload new photos to the service or view existing albums and pictures. Essentially, Lytro’s living photos are dead.
It’s still possible to use the export function to generate a non-living picture using the desktop app but eh, where’s the fun in that?
Truth be told, it was only a matter of time before Lytro ditched its photo hosting service. Furthermore, the decision likely doesn’t affect very many people. While the technology was indeed advanced and impressive, it never made it into a consumer product with much appeal. The first Lytro camera was squarely a novelty item while the follow-up Illum was just average for its $1,599 price tag.
Had Lytro been able to somehow streamline its live photo technique, it could have drastically revolutionized photography. Instead, it’ll go down in history as little more than a gimmick that never caught on. It's a shame, really.