The Famous Lenna appears in Woody Allen Movie

Anybody who has ever read a book or paper about Sobel Filters, kernels and digital filtering in the context of image processing should have seen at least once the following test image.

This is the famous Lena picture.  But who is Lena? Interestingly, back then in 1973 Woody Allen used the same photograph in one of his famous movies, The Sleeper. For me this was this funny coincidence unrevealed the origin of this test picture. It is actually taken from Playboy Magazine as Woody Allen says in the movie. 

Following a quick search I was able to find this article (, which is just about Lena's history in science. This also explains why the image is generally so strangely cut.

Well let's state the facts here... This is a picture of a women from the Playboy Magazine, where women are paid to show their body parts in erotical manners for men who need to see these type of stuff.  This picture has been used for decades by generations of researchers in the field of computer vision to showcase their algorithms. They described their algorithms in greatest details by describing the way how they transformed this image of a playmate pixel-by-pixel with a grin on their face in papers and conferences to other scientists.

The question that follows from these facts is why didn't they used another image such as Nixon, Woody Allen or maybe Rambo? One valid answer is that this community was dominated strongly by males as in many other academic fields. And today I think it is clear to many of us that the remarkable thing about this image is that it is one of the hallmarks of the patriarchy played in the field of computer vision.