The edge of resolution

The edge of resolution
Category: Photos /


A strange skeletal figure wearing a red top.The eyes, nose and scarily gaping mouth give this strange figure a ghastly, even ghostly, look. The figure appears to be leaning heavily on something as if unable to stand for some reason.

Anyone who took such a photo might feel entitled to think there was something anomalous or paranormal going on.

Here is the same photo, zooming out. The figure now resembles a macabre doll, wearing a strange multicoloured cape while leaning against a post. Note that you can see the individual pixels.

If you start to see individual pixels like this, you know you are beyond the resolution limit of your photo. What you are seeing is no longer entirely real - some of it is a result of the pixel layout.


You might suspect by now that things are not as they at first seemed.

Zooming out still further, the ‘doll’ (now just above centre) is revealed to be the rope holding a flag to a pole! No sign of a face or figure.

There were too few pixels representing the rope in the original photo to show it properly. As a result, zooming in produced a spurious ‘face’ using both the rope itself and also the pixels, which look like rectangles.


Human brains are ‘hard-wired’ to see faces and figures in random patterns (like simulacra).

Author :Maurice Townsend 2008

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