Via @Documentally’s excellent weekly newsletter, here’s a short Observer article by Eva Wiseman on the phenomenon of ‘killfies’. This is where a person’s attempt to take a selfie of themselves gets them killed.
Which led me to think, maybe we’ve been getting our fears wrong all along? What if the way technology destroys humanity is not with an uprising of robots, of toasters turning against their masters, of self-driving cars choosing a road trip less travelled, but with something as simple as a reflection? There is something so unashamedly ancient in these deaths that it almost seems gauche to point it out. The sirens singing on the rock, beckoning sailors towards their comprehensive display of filters. The boys drowning in their own image. The recording of a risk, the risk itself. …
And once you’ve learned about killfies, it’s very hard to unsee them. Every Instagram post suddenly reads a little like a suicide note.
Or, as a candidate for ‘the photo of you the media will use when they report on your untimely death’, the darker side to selfies that I wrote about a few years ago. In bygone eras, these images were usually school photos or wedding day pictures. Now they tend to be self-portaits. Continue reading “On Killfies and Campaign Photos”
A while ago I posted on The Darker Side of Selfies, and the way in which the mainstream media illustrate the news of tragic young deaths with images from the victims’ social media accounts.
Whether it is a car accident, a drug overdose, a gang murder, or a bullying related suicide, the photo editors turn to the victim’s Facebook page or Twitter stream to harvest images. … Used in this new, unintended context, these images strike a discordant note. The carefree narcissism inherent in any selfie jars with the fact of the artist/subject’s untimely death.
The death of Terrie Lynch and Alexandra Binns this week is a good example. Continue reading “Photography Imbued with Sadness”
Picasa is Google’s free photo management application. It appears to be an experimental project rather than a flagship product, but its extremely useful and versatile. In particular, it allows management of photos without making a copy of each photograph inside the application. This was the feature that prompted me to move my photo management into Picasa from Apple’s iPhoto (now discontinued) and why I have not moved on to its new ‘Photos’ offering.
Like those other programmes, Picasa has a powerful facial recognition feature. Set it loose on your photos and it will recognise faces within them. The software if powerful enough to identify blurred, grainy faces as well as in-focus portraits. If you give a face a name, it will identify other similar faces and suggest that they are the same person. I began tagging all my photographs like this. Continue reading “How can I force Picasa to rescan faces?”
Before I mire myself in questions of when and whether to publish shocking images, I should—must—begin by writing about the fact of Aylan Kurdi’s drowning and the refugee crisis in general. If the central argument for publishing an image of a dead boy is that it ‘gets people discussing the issues’ then I think I have an obligation to do so, even if these thoughts have been stated earlier and more eloquently, elsewhere. Continue reading “On the ethics of publishing the photo of Aylan Kurdi”