Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The pictorial challenge answered

After a short discussion with Zeger (TestSideStory) on Twitter about the pictorial challenge it was time to do some work but I came back to the picture later. Have a look at it first before reading on.

I sat back and thought “How would I test this if I don’t know what’s important and don’t know to whom it will be important?”

I then collated some high level areas of approach

• Death by Goggle:

   o Searching the net for the names on the signs to give me more avenues to consider

• Technical: It’s a .jpg of a certain size, resolution and colours used

   o Is that on purpose, in which scenarios could it be a problem?

   o Are there parts of the picture that look cut off, is there too much sky, etc.

   o Are there hints that this is a collage of pictures or is it one photograph

• Emotional: How do I react to the picture when looking at it first.

   o How does that change when picking out more details?

I started with the emotional part first because a) I can’t help it and b) to me testing a picture is more akin to criticizing a painting so I wanted see if the artist/photographer got an immediate emotional reaction from me. The signs look rusty and barely legible. Rust to me indicates age so I assume they’ve been there for a long time. The house looks like it has seen better days, my first reaction is that it’s been taken in a poor part of whatever town/country. The boy on the roof (I assume it’s a roof) would be unusual in a UK town, maybe it’s not where this picture is taken? Filed away for future consideration.

I then searched for “Zanchett” and “La Mejor Ropa”, the latter of which is Spanish for “The best clothes”. But maybe it's not "Zanchett" but "Zanchetti". That's where the font type could throw a spanner into the tester's work. You live and learn. Again, more pages but I didn't follow them up too closely as I'm more interested in the picture rather than where  it was taken. Zanchett seems to be quite a common name, there are several facebook sites, a Portuguese Tourism page to name a few. I also found links to a breastfeeding site in Brazil, so maybe it’s not Spanish but Portuguese. The boy (man?) on the roof is wearing a t-shirt, short trousers and sandals which indicates a warm country. At a guess I’d say the photo was taken in Brasil or Argentina.

The breastfeeding site also made me look at the photo closer, maybe the blue plastic bowl hanging at the outside of the house is actually a baby bath. The bike on the left, caged birds on the right and the boy on the roof could mean it’s a nursery or orphanage (because of what I assume is a poor area, I could be wrong here). In my experience Mediterranean houses don’t give the impression that they’re looked after from the outside, that doesn’t mean that they’re not in very good condition from the inside. There’s an angle of cultural differences here and since I assume Southern America here as the location I’ll have to question my assumptions. The boy/man (I'm not able to clearly distinguish the features to say for sure) is wearing sports clothes which seem new or in good shape at least so maybe poor isn't actually correct here.

I didn’t go into the technical details other than noting that the size is 601 x 776 pixels – the 601 seems odd to me, maybe it was converted from a different size or type?

I’ll get in touch with Zeger to see what he thinks about it. :)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Thomas,

    This is great.

    Actually, I didn't even ponder the picture size.
    It originally had an other name (la boca 2399.jpg) which was too much of a give-away since La Boca is one of the poorer quarters in Buenos Aires. That's why I decided to rename it to (NoClueHere.jpg). I didn't change the size, though. It must have been cut off by the photographer.

    I also didn't really consider the fact that in Mediterranean/South-American/Latin-American countries the outsides of the houses are usually not a good representation of what's inside.

    Actually, the picture originates from the blog of photographer Michael Reichmann, in an essay on - you guessed it - picture decomposition. Of course, since I had read the article before, I was already primed to think a certain direction. Hard to "unread" certain information, I tell ya... Still, during _my_ deconstruction exercise I tried to 'forget' what I had read before and come up with other clues.

    *** SPOILER ALERT ***
    You can read the whole essay here (