searching by drawing
exploring drawing programs
Drawing abstractly in paint programs is a sort of like playing with fractal software. You manipulate a set of parameters, and in the process, travel through a kind of virtual space.  

After some time goes by, you either wind up lost, or find yourself in a location that feels special. In the latter case, you might want to preserve your findings, so that the special location may be visited later.

Revisiting the location, however, by-passes the time spent exploring, and instead teleports you to the destination instantaneously, i.e. re-opening a saved bitmap image.

This might be desired for someone else visiting the location for the first time. A lack of context or understanding as to how you arrived at the special location creates a sense of wonder.

A trade off is that the missing context--the exploratory period--might contain moments as interesting (if not more interesting) than the special location discovered during the exploration.

reverse image search
When google introduced its version of content-based image retrieval many years ago, I tried using it on my own abstract drawings to see what sort of visually similar content turned up.  

There were several 'okay' results, but a few results in particular that were so remarkably similar to my image query that I became immediately obsessed with the concept of reverse image searching--specifically trying to find what all that is out there, online, that looks similar to what I made, or wanted to make.

combining the two together
The following series of images are moments saved periodically during sessions of aimless wandering in photoshop.

After a few snapshots have been taken, a reverse image search is performed on each snapshot, and whatever ends up looking/feeling/seeming like the original image is saved and paired next to it.


last updated march 5, 2019