In recent years I've started doing work in image analysis and have used the Barbara and Lena images. Early on I became aware of the interesting history surrounding the Lena image and that got me wondering: Who is Barbara, where was the image shot, and what was the original intent (presumably it wasn't created for image research)?

enter image description here

Many people cite Allen Gersho's lab or Marco Schmidt's (now defunct) test image database. However, this is a bit unsatisfying to me.

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    $\begingroup$ This question appears to be off-topic because it is about the history of a photograph. $\endgroup$
    – Deve
    Oct 23 '14 at 12:22
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    $\begingroup$ This picture is so common, that I don't feel the question is off-topic. Tracing its history could be interesting, as for the motivation of the choice. Indeed, I never saw it in color, and never thought it could have been colored $\endgroup$ Jul 9 '16 at 13:37

The appeal of this image is obviously in the numerous lines, which test the aliasing properties of resizing, denoising, and super-resolution algorithms.

It seems Allen Gersho is the source, according to the Acknowledgement section of Embedded image coding using zerotrees of wavelet coefficients

enter image description here

If you want more specific information you could ask him or one of his students from the early 90s, when this image first seems to have appeared.

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    $\begingroup$ I do hope the OP has tried finding out. $\endgroup$
    – Julia
    Sep 6 '17 at 16:06

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