That is the fair. I know you’re all telling me to get over it by now, but it’s not the fair I want to talk about today. I want to talk about pictures. Look at this picture. Now, I took this picture from a Ferris wheel more than nine feet from the ground. The one thing that disappears first at a distance is people. In the grand scheme of things, people are actually pretty small. But this gets me thinking. How many people are actually in my pictures? I’m serious about this. I would bet there’s up to a 1000 people or more in the pictures I’ve taken over the years, and I don’t know a single one of them. I don’t know their names, I don’t know who they are, and I don’t care about them. The only thing I know is that some asshole always pops up in the background, and really unfortunate cases, the foreground of your pictures right when you take them.
I wonder how many pictures I wandered into over my lifetime. I wonder how many incidental pictures of me are in other peoples’ photo albums and picture frames. Back in the day, we had to use cameras that had actual film in them. There wasn’t as much squandering of photos in those days. Somebody turning up to ruin the perfect shot was downright painful and expensive. Some little bastard kid picking his nose in the middle of the family photograph was reason to start busting some asses. The pain in the ass in the front row making the weird face ruined it for everyone.
In the days of digital photography we can all be a lot more cavalier about our use of frames. I imagine the background residents have multiplied considerably.
I take pictures of strange things. Digital photography has only inflamed this tendency. As you can see, I post the pictures of weird things on Facebook and this blog. This leads me to another nagging thought. What if, just by mere chance or coincidence, you actually saw yourself in somebody else’s pictures on the Internet? I’m not talking about anything risqué or perverse, just you as your bad self waiting in line at Space Mountain in Disneyland. Wouldn’t that just fuck with your head to log on, look at a total stranger’s pictures, and see yourself standing there in the background? Would you tell the person that you were in the picture? Better yet, would he or she believe you? Would you send them a profile picture just to prove it? It’s a pickle to be sure.
Here’s a funny. I typed “jerk in picture” into Google image search. This exact picture turned up.
Look, I’m not the deepest thinker in the universe, but this subject has crossed my mind when weeding through all the interesting images that cropped up during the fair and my trip back east. I tend to keep to still life and landscapes. It helps me to avoid any unwanted aspiring models and idiots with remarkably bad timing.
Ponder that for a while. I’ll take you out with this klassic from HP. I wonder if all those schmucks in the background are paid extras or if they just happened to be wandering by. Who knows? Either way, as clever as these effects are, I’m sure somebody at some point during the filming of this commercial wondered, “What the hell is that idiot doing in the middle of my shot?!”