Supervising a Ph.D. student in engineering who is working on imaging I came across (again) the Lena image that is used as a standard for image engineering. I must say that I thought the repeated use of that image distasteful, so I did some research and found The Rest of the Lenna Story. I’m not sure now what to think about the ongoing use of this. On the one hand it is now a standard of sorts which allows comparison among techniques. It has also become a part of the culture, for better or worse. On the other hand Playboy still owns copyright and students should be discouraged from using copyrighted materials, even when it is unlikely that they will be sued. Finally, it is distracting to have to look at images meant to titillate.
As with all these things, to complain would probably provoke the community into digging in its heels around censorship. Why doesn’t someone come up with a better image?