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“Cher & 'Cher-alike”: Famous faces found in artwork from the past

A new intelligent photo album platform has trained its search technology by looking for celebrity lookalikes in one of the world’s largest photographic collections of art images based at Somerset House in London.  The Witt Library (part of The Courtauld Institute) holds a collection of western art, covering the period 1200 to the present day.

The inventors of Pholio, a photo album with built-in advanced image search capabilities, have incorporated more than 20,000 search terms into the new device.

Pholio, developed by CEO Simon Randall, his team of scientists, and academics from Oxford University, uses artificial intelligence to search through millions of images and recognise patterns instantly.  The firm has worked with the Witt Collection (held by the Courtauld Institute) at Somerset House to automatically index their vast image collection.  Pholio examines images added to the device and automatically finds and understands patterns.  Once it has been taught to recognise a unique face or thousands of other objects, it will find any close similarities in any collection.

A search of a digital family photo collection for pictures of meerkats, UFOs, fried breakfasts, and thousands of other search terms, will take owners instantly to the relevant images in their collections.  Pholio doesn’t need an internet connection and can be taught to recognise family specific search terms.  Tags are applied instantly to all images added to a collection.

Pholio is a small album-shaped box that sits on a living room shelf.  Family images can be searched via any connected device.  It can also access Google Images, Facebook and Instagram collections and download them for safe keeping.

Among the striking lookalikes found in the Courtauld’s huge ‘family album’ are Cher, Paul Hollywood, Richard Branson and founder Simon Randall.

Simon Randall said: “When we tested the search capabilities out on the Courtauld Collection, we were absolutely amazed at the speed and the accuracy of what we’d created.  When I spotted my own ‘relative’ from the collection, my jaw dropped.  There is an urban myth that Nicholas Cage is a vampire based on an old archive photo.  When my wife saw the picture of me, she insisted on sleeping with the light on.”

He added: “Most of us have tens of thousands of pictures these days thanks to smartphones.  Keeping track of what we have and hunting down the thing we are looking for is now an instantaneous exercise.  Pholio means no more laborious scrolling through thousands of pics.”

To find out more about Pholio, please visit: www.pholio.io

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