Saturday, August 20, 2005

found photos

Relentlessly Optimistic pointed me to this cool site full of random pictures. I really liked the one above. I guess it was taken in 1972, and I probably would have been impressed if I'd seen it at the time, when I was four. Even then I loved rock and roll.

It's interesting how the FoundPhoto site came to be. Its founder was looking for music to steal, using Kazzaa or something like that, and he stumbled across someone's picture file. Then he looked around some more and found hundreds of picture files. I guess he could probably get into mine. Which isn't a big deal (with the exception of a few pictures taken on a clothing-optional beach in Mexico).

Reminds me how the other day I went to the monthly meeting of the Cliff Drive Corridor Management Committee (on which I serve, in case I haven't mentioned that before), and found myself looking through a bunch of random pictures of strangers. They'd all been taken by several security cameras folks at the city's parks department had set up along Cliff Drive to deter illegal dumpers and graffitiers. I havde mixed feelings about the cameras. On the one hand, they seem to deter the jerks who deface and pollute the beautiful stuff we have in our neighborhood, not the least of which is Cliff Drive. On the other, it's a troubling example of how weak and disconnected urban communities have become.

A lot of the pictures showed nothing; they'd been triggered by a breeze-blown branch, or a car passing by. There was one of a cat creeping quietly across the pavement. But the one that stuck with me was of a parked car with a man sitting in the passenger seat pointing out the opened window at the camera. His mouth was twisted mid-syllable, and I imagined he was saying to the driver, "Check it out! We're being photographed."

I paused on this photo for a while before flipping to the next. I was surprised to see that the man was still there. He appeared again on the next photo in the stack. And again, for a half dozen more pictures. The immages documented his little break in the park, as he sat in the car for a while, and then got out to stretch his legs and peer over the ledge of the overlook.

It's odd because I know from experience that these cameras talk to you whenever they snap a picture. They say something like, "Stop! You're picture has just been taken. Now enjoy your stay in the park." So this guy kept hanging around in spite of Big Brother's rude interruptions.

Funny how much we'll tolerate. But then, is there really a choice anymore? Was there ever? If so, when was it offered? Because when I downloaded LimeWire, I don't recall seeing a checkbox giving an option to make my photos private, the same way that dude on Cliff Drive wasn't told upon entering that he might be photographed.

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