“Light” — Silicon Valley Veterans Aim to Reinvent Photography

In this Kickstarter era, going public with great new gear ideas and consumer hardware startups is extremely hot. GoPro is the latest American dream of a now self-made billionaire who had a great idea, believed in it and made the dream come true. Especially in the field of photography many gifted innovators are courting the photographer’s favor. It’s increasingly difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. A latest entry promising photography heaven on earth: Light — Reimagine Photography.

Light’s maxime: “creative technologists on a mission to reimagine the art and science of photography.” “Technologists” refers to Dave Grannan, former CEO of speech recognition startup Vlingo which powered the original Siri, and Rajiv Laroia, former CTO of a tech company acquired by Qualcomm. Now they team up to kind of reinvent photography.

Light -- Reimagine Photography
Screenshot of Light — Reimagine Photography
They already have some $10 million in the bank, but what Light really is about remains as cryptic as Mother Mary’s immaculate conception.

It seems pretty logical that the two Silicon valley veterans plan a hardware company. If they try to reinvent photography hardware a.k.a. the camera there’s a pretty rock road ahead. Or doesn’t Lytro ring a bell?

In an interview with Recode, Grannan explained what Light will do without really explaining what Light will do:

The last major technological breakthrough in photography was the move from analog to digital, when traditional film was replaced by a digital sensor. Creation and consumption of photography have innovated, incrementally, around this, but there hasn’t been a real ground-up change in the way we think about the photograph. We’re working on that.

Are they after an animated photograph? An interactive photograph? Since its invention the photo is a two-dimensional flat thing that hasn’t substantially changed over the centuries. What differentiates today’s technology from yesterday’s though is the ability to not just perform certain tasks, but to create products that are capable of “learning.”

The market has a booming appetite for experientally conceived products, says Grannan. “Those that can show real technological differentiation seem to be all the better off in this environment. We’re excited about that.”

Sign me up, whatever it will be.

For more visit Light.

  • One More Thought

    Sounds interesting…but as you allude to, eventually they will have to produce more than marketing platitudes.

    I might argue that photography has been and already is being reinvented, with the popularity of smartphone cameras. Now we have cameras that are with us everywhere, easy to use, always connected and thus ready to share, and able to easily edit on the same device.

    You have the impact of digital image sensors married to portable pocket computers.

    Of course there are always tradeoffs in IQ, but most people just want snap shots. That’s the way it’s always been. I remember growing up in the era of film cameras, and most people I encounted just wanted a basic camera that was easy to use and could make decent looking prints.

    There will be big advances in sensor tech, but let’s not forget that a lot of these advances will also show up in the small image sensors of smartphones, and not just the bigger, dedicated cameras.

    I still say the big revolution would be getting more and more people interested in more advanced photography. Until you do that the majority of consumers will just gravitate towards the easiest to use option, which right now, is the smart phone. It’s hard to beat an option that is always with you, always connected, and very easy to use.

  • do we need more, better or different gear to make good or better photographs?


    we have all we need for centuries and if you take the time to look at the best photographs, you will notice, that they never did depend on the gear but on the fantasy and imagination of the photographer.

    I am not different and enjoy new tools for taking the pictures, that I imagine. But in the moment I dig through my 50 years of negatives and find so many images, that never made it into positive and printed “life”. Made with very simple and cheap analog gear.

    And I am looking forward for the New55 project with the good old Polaroid material.