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iPhone app tries to rid world of cheesy photo filters

Many of us have a love-hate affair with apps like Instagram. A couple of photo filters can make a lousy image look interesting — but do we really want all our digital memories to be saved in shades of sepia?

Thankfully, there's an app that's trying to rid the world of photo filters — the operative word being "trying."

The app's called Normalize and it's available in the Apple App Store for $1. According to its developer's description, it has the power to turn "a photo back into what it's supposed to look like."

Unfortunately, some random tests show that things don't work quite as advertised. Whenever I tried to "normalize" an image using the app, I found that the resulting photo often looked even funkier than what I'd imported into the app.

Only under some mysteriously ideal circumstances did the app spit out a photo that looked more natural and "normal" than the filter-altered image I'd thrown at it.

These results aren't surprising. As Gizmodo's Eric Limer points out, "it's not like Instagram filters are just sitting there on top of the original image." Images are modified when you apply filters, meaning that Normalize can't just magically make the changes go away — it has to mess with the images as well, just like Instagram, Snapseed, or a similar filter-filled app. 

In the end, Normalize isn't exactly perfect, but it has it's shining moments. And it's probably the best app you could passive-aggressively gift to your Instagram-obsessed friends.

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