Jörg M. Colberg, an accomplished astrophysicist who picked up photography later in life, has a series entitled "American Pixels" in which he applies a self-made compression algorithm to turn photographs into digital-age works of art.
But Colberg's works are not merely commentary on the state of images in a culture of lossy file types. He designed his own algorithm that responds uniquely to the contents of the photograph.
For Colberg, the compression becomes part of the creative progress. He explains:
A computer that creates a jpeg does not know anything about the contents of the image: It does what it is told, in a uniform manner across the image.
My idea was to create a variant that followed in the footsteps of what jpegs do, but to have the final result depend on the original image...adaptive compression (acomp) is a new image algorithm where the focus is not on making its compression efficient but, rather, on making its result interesting...As computer technology has evolved to make artificial images look ever more real - so that the latest generation of shooter and war games will look as realistic as possible - acomp is intended to go the opposite way: Instead of creating an image artificially with the intent of making it look as photo-realistic as possible, it takes an image captured from life and transforms it into something that looks real and not real at the same time.
The American Pixel renders are intended for hanging on walls, allowing the viewer to study the different layers of pixelated detail by move closer and farther away from the work.