Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pictures Of Us

I've been meaning to write a post about this for some time now. It sits there in my mind doing nothing and each time I see a random person taking a photo I remember it, then promptly forget.

Well it's all different this time, for I've remembered and am here, at the keyboard, typing letters and words.

It's about photographs, specifically other people's ones, even more specifically it's about how many random photographs each of us must appear in.

How many pictures do we have, perhaps a cheesy one of ourselves or a loved one standing in front of a touristy site, maybe Galle Face, Sigiriya or Big Ben? And in each of those photos there's often one or a few random strangers, people who happened to walk past or maybe were busily taking their own pictures at the same time paying no attention to you.

The chances are that they're people we've never known and never will meet. The chances are that there are just as many photos owned by other people that contain chance images of each of us.

Well how many of these "lost" pictures with you in them do you think actually exist?

I reckon a major factor has got to be how well travelled you are and how many of the world's more well known and popular tourist sites you frequent. Some bloke who works selling trinkets at the Taj Mahal may easily be one of the most photographed chaps ever and might never know it. Conversely and sadly a poorer person in a village in remotest Lanka is less likely to crop up in these pictures all over the world. Though he's probably not bothered about that either.

Whenever I think about it my mind goes into overdrive. On a mantelpiece somewhere in rural England there may sit a picture of a lobster coloured couple being romantic on their honeymoon on a far away beach in Sri Lanka. And behind them, for all we know, Cerno might be standing and innocently picking his nose. Except the couple will never know that it's Cerno and Cerno will never know that he's in that picture. Who knows? The man in the picture might have trod on a little Cerno bogey as they walked away and said Cerno bogey might still be stuck to the bottom of the groom's slipper up in the cupboard.

A couple of years ago Darwin took a picture of a very talented and good looking bloke playing the drums at Barefoot. She found out afterwards that she'd actually taken a picture of me, neither of us had known it at the time though we were regular readers of each other's blogs. It's continues to amaze me, that she was standing just a few feet away from me but neither of us knew this. It can happen you know.

The event that finally made me remember to write this post happened on Sunday night. I was in RD Towers and practicing away to my heart's content. In between songs I glanced out of my window to see a camera crew and an assortment of people fiming what was very obviously a music video.

There was a young trendy looking black guy walking along the path by the river and singing whilst being filmed. For the life of me I didn't know who he was but I'm on the case and will let you know once I do.

I noticed that the camera was pointing towards me and thought how funny it would be if this chap's video came out and I could be seen in the background, practicing Starlight by Muse. It would be good until some smart arse spotted me messing up the hi hat splash as I went into the chorus. The all hell would break loose.

I've got countless pictures of random people at random places, wouldn't it be amazing if there was a way I could identify those people, perhaps to find out where they are now, whether I might actually know them. Of course the people who feature in my thousands of photos taken in Sri Lanka would create a surreal level of interest and connection, what with our two or three degrees of separation instead of everyone else's six. I bet there'd be bloggers and friends of friends cropping up all over the place.

In the days of analogue photography, of prints, negatives and film the information would be almost impossible to sift through. But I've got an idea that could work in this age, this digital, GPS, hard disc and technological era we're in.

What if we all wore or carried some sort of electronic talisman?

I know the impact on civil liberties and freedom, how many people would be very against the idea because of those big issues. I'm not talking about those things, they're for serious bloggers and intelligent people to debate.

No, I'm talking about some kind of tag that records my presence whenever a picture is taken with me in it (the technology undoubtedly exists already anyway). Then, whenever I wanted to I could log on to somewhere, type in my details and pull up every random photograph, taken by random people, that contains me.

Wouldn't that be incredible!

It's my idea, don't go stealing it now.

Oooh, what's that sticky thing on my shoe?


JP said...

RD, nice post. agree . we must be runing in to some of the guys and gals we read . I know the secret (or not so secret) identity of a couple , in a so unNBway ofcourse.

Here's a question, would we still adore the real person the same way we adore the blogdentity

Charm Bracelet said...

Eerily accurate RD, and Jack, food for thought ur point. Though, would it/should it really matter? But yeah u have a point.

Kalusudda said...

First thank you for getting back to regular blogging! ;) yep I know I am on a few hundred photographs taken on a single day, last year when we scaled the Yosemite from the steeper face.
Then we have this season tickets for Oakland Warriors and we end up in most photos and videos as our seats are too close to the court. Being on a music video might get you viewed by many!

Your idea, is in action at Google. Go to your Google Account log into your picasa,(or your personal picasa on your desktop) upload a few photos, select a good photo of you, give a name "RD" to it, and say find faces!, every photo with you in it will be recognized and grouped by "RD". It is limited to your albums right now. Just imagine we extend this feature to all the publicly shared photos. I will have enough photos of "RD" to see for a life time! Including photos of RD that Darwin, drew!

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

JP - Thanks for the comment - The question about whether we'd still like the real person compared to the blogger is indeed a big one, I feel a post about it coming on.

Charm B - I guess it only matters if and when we meet each other.

KS - Wow, thanks for that info, I never knew it, it's eerie to think how close we may be to my suggestion.