THESE are ‘officially’ the best images of Scotland as chosen by a smart algorithm on a photography website.
Type ‘Scotland’ into Google Images and you’ll find millions of photographs of the country’s famous and iconic landmarks and people.
But this, a list of photographs taken by Scots of their home and chosen as the greatest images by an algorithm, reflect a more intimate, quirky and human side to the country.
READ MORE: See the best pictures in Scotland at Picfair
The images are among more than four million that have been uploaded to the website Picfair - a start-up company that lets anyone sell their photographs to anyone else.
Founded by journalist and developer Benji Lanyado, 33, Picfair hosts images from thousands of award-winning professionals to amateur photographers, with the ‘Picked’ algorithm doing the ‘quality curation’.
Mr Lanyado said: “How do you make sure the good stuff rises to the top? We’ve done this by continually developing our ‘Picked’ algorithm, which is, essentially, a digital replication of our taste. It helps us, and buyers, pick the best images from the millions of pics we get uploaded.
“The most interesting thing about our curation algorithm is that it doesn’t care who’s taken them - whether it’s an award-winning pro photographer, a hobbyist, or a total amateur.
“We let anyone submit images - we’ve got hundreds of photographers across Scotland uploading superb shots every day. We’ve trained the algorithm to select images that are authentic and aren’t “cheesy”, because we know that the businesses and publications who license them don’t want that.”
He added: “So, frequently images rise to the top that have been taken by people “on the ground” - they might not always be perfectly-framed, or taken on the most expensive camera, but they’re often incredibly compelling, and give an authentic snapshot instead of something cliched or staged.
“For example, in our top Scotland images, we’ve got an beautifully lustrous shot of a fishing boat heading out across the Firth of Clyde on a summer’s evening - and it wasn’t taken by a pro, it was taken by a stone mason from Galloway.
“There’s another shot in the Scotland collection taken by an amateur photographer in Holyrood Park, where a construction crane looks like it’s holding up the setting sun, with silhouetted mountain scenery in the background - it’s a perfectly Scottish juxtaposition of natural beauty and industry.
“We’ve also got some stunning shots by pros in the collection too, across a superb range - from stunning shots of surfers in Thurso to the patriotically-tattooed knuckles of construction workers in Glasgow. The Scotland set is incredibly diverse and frequently beautiful, which, considering the subject, feels very appropriate.”
Mr Lanyado said: “People are proud of the places they call home. The Scots are quite rightly incredibly proud of Scotland and have, here, captured its people and essence in photos at a time when Scotland’s future once again tops the news agenda.”