Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Thursday November 22 2007

On October 14th I encountered something a bit strange, in the form of a Billion Monkey lady on Westminster Bridge.  She was snapping away in the general direction of Big Ben, the way Billion Monkeys do, so there was nothing unusual about that.  (Billion Monkeys, for those new to the concept, are that enormous army of amateur snappers who now wield cheap digital cameras, and who, unlike those proverbial million monkeys who type at random but never write any Shakespeare, are producing the occasional terrific photo, in among all the dross.  I periodically wander around London’s tourist districts recording Billion Monkeys in action.  And yes, I am one of these creatures myself.)

So anyway, here was one of my first snaps of my Billion Monkey lady, which at first I just filed under Billion Monkeys Crouching:

image

But at the time of taking the picture I had obviously been sufficiently intrigued by that bit of paper she was holding up in front of her camera to sneak around the other side of her and take a snap which, with luck, would enable me to see what it was.  There she is again, this time with the bottom of Big Ben in view to the top left.

image

My camera having better eyesight than me, I then let the mystery lie, and only rather recently have I investigated any further.  This, I discovered, is what the paper said:

image

“HEINRICH PHOTOGRAPHY”.  I googled, but inconclusively.  None of the various Heinrichs suggested, although photographic, looked cheap and cheerful enough to be what was going on in my pictures.

imageBut then I tried Flickr.  Any references there to Heinrich Photography?  Success!  I quickly found my way to these snaps.  And, although there was no sign of Big Ben, among these I did find this photo.  That bigger version of the picture is an uncopiable .gif, but I was able to copy this smaller .jpg which you see to your right.

And, that is the exact same piece of paper.  There is no doubt about it.  And what is more, Billion Monkey snaps being datable and timable, I can tell you that those phone boxes were photoed just one hour after I took my snaps.  Also, the camera used to snap the phone boxes is the same one as my crouching lady was using.  The phone boxes picture was taken by one Alicia Ramirez, who simply has to be my Billion Monkey lady.  Googling for Alicia Ramirez yielded one actress, but she looked different.  I don’t know where in London the phone boxes are.

Another photo in the set linked to above, with Heinrich Photography signs in them, says instead “www.heinrichphotography.blogspot.com”.  Hah, a blog!  But alas, that url, as of now, leads nowhere.

What is going on here?  Why is it sometimes Heinrich and sometimes “Hein Rich”?  This would make the beginnings of a good short story.  I hope to learn more.  In particular, I wonder if that blog will ever come alive.

If I’ve been suckered by some kind of viral marketing campaign, guess what.  I don’t care.