Google uses Pixel 6 to talk about race and photography

It’s not often that a new mobile phone feature can be truly tied to a cultural moment. This is a high-budget ad category that typically focuses on things like speed, camera quality (you can shoot a Hollywood movie!), and how a given brand or product looks. image and personality that matches your unique lifestyle.

As Google launches its latest model, the Pixel 6, one feature the company says sets it apart is called Real Tone, which uses machine learning to photograph a wide range of skin tones more accurately than ever before. It follows the company’s recent algorithm update to promote more racially diverse results in image searches.

To further promote the new feature, the company has partnered with The New York Times T Brand creative studio to create a campaign called “Picture Progress” around the idea of ​​image equity. “We thought about it from the standpoint of, how much more representative our history could have been, and will it be in the future, if we’re able to record it accurately?” says Vida Cornelious, vice president of creative at NYT Advertising.

Starting today, the campaign is made up of two distinct elements. The first is “From Past to Present”, which explores image equity as a way to equalize our visual history. He examines how color photo technology has evolved over the past century, taking three historic photos of The New York Times archives and recreate them with today’s leaders in color using pixel 6’s Real Tone. The photos will feature three BIPOC activists: Black AIDS Institute founder Phill Wilson; Dolores Huerta, Mexican-American labor leader and civil rights activist, who co-founded the National Farmworkers Association with Cesar Chavez; and civil rights activist Ruby Bridges.

Part two is titled “Present to Future” and features BIPOC’s leading photographers – Kennedi Carter, Mengwen Cao and Ricardo Nagaoka – using the Pixel 6 to celebrate identity and self-expression in their own voices.

Cornelius says it was important to think of the new phone as a tool to capture the images of our lives, our truth as we saw it. “We view the phone, not just as a product, but as a portal to empowerment right now,” says Cornelious. “That’s what it becomes. The Real Tone feature lets your phone become the truth in your hands. What we capture in our images is the most representative moment of ourselves. It’s not just for making phone calls, but an extension of who we are and who we can be seen to be.

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