How did an iPhone camera affect this woman's arms so badly?

A woman’s photo taken with an iPhone camera has caused quite a stir due to the unusual positioning of her arms. The photo, taken in front of two mirrors, shows three different arm positions - one in each mirror and one in real life. Speculations arose about whether the image was Photoshopped or if there was a glitch in the Matrix. However, the explanation is much simpler: it is a computational photography error.

Modern smartphone cameras employ complex algorithms that process numerous computational operations the moment you press the camera button. These operations result in a photo that can be easily shared online. In this particular case, the iPhone’s software failed to recognize the presence of a mirror in the shot, treating each reflection of the subject as a separate person. As the woman was moving at the instant the photo was taken, the algorithm combined multiple images to create the final result - three different arm positions.

Typically, smartphone camera software seamlessly merges multiple images, adjusting for contrast, saturation, detail, and blur reduction. This process usually goes unnoticed and produces high-quality photos. However, occasionally, the algorithms can become slightly confused, as in this case. If the reflections were considered separate individuals instead of mirror images, each subject would have been accurately represented.

Interestingly, this photo anomaly can be replicated by anyone with an iPhone and some mirrors. This has even inspired a trend on TikTok, where users intentionally create amusing photos and videos by exploiting the algorithm’s difficulty in distinguishing mirror images from real people.