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In low-level vision, the representation of scene properties such as shape, albedo, etc., are very high dimensional as they have to describe complicated structures. The approach proposed here is to let the image itself bear as much of the representational burden as possible. In many situations, scene and image are closely related and it is possible to find a functional relationship between them. The scene information can be represented in reference to the image where the functional specifies how to translate the image into the associated scene. We illustrate the use of this representation for encoding shape information. We show how this representation has appealing properties such as locality and slow variation across space and scale. These properties provide a way of improving shape estimates coming from other sources of information like stereo.