Brian Micklethwait's Blog

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

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Tuesday September 01 2015

I believe I may have said here recently that I did not care for selfies, although I cannot find where I said this.  But whether I said this or not, it is not entirely true.  There is a kind of selfie that I do like, which is when I am photoing some scene or other, and I am able to sneak a selfie into it, in a small part of the picture.

Partly this is because my understanding is that Real Photographers go to enormous trouble to avoid such selfie effects.  As with PR experts, if the Photographer is the story, or any part of the story, then he isn’t telling the story right.  The Real Photographer is not doing his job, which is to create a photo of whatever he is photoing, not of him, the Real Photographer, photoing it.  The Real Photographer is supposed to be invisible.

Well, fair enough, business is business.  But I am not in business.  I am wandering about, having fun.  If I show up in one of my photos, that’s fine, because that was what was going on in front of my camera.  There was this mirror or this window or this shiny windscreen or whatever, and my face bounced back to my camera off of it.  It happens, and it’s all part of how cameras work and what can happen with them.

Besides which, more fundamentally, I am not trying to persuade you that you were or are actually there.  No.  This is a photo. Photos are different from what you actually see if you are there, that being a great deal of the point of them, and a great deal of the fun of them.  Cameras see and tell you about things that you might very well have missed, if you had merely been there, just as I do constantly miss stuff when I was there taking the photo, and only see later.  It’s not reality.  It’s a photo. Which means that someone stood there, with a camera, and took that photo.  And, sometimes, the camera sees that.  Why is that wrong?

All of which is a preamble-stroke-excuse for the following selfie:

image

I am the bloke in the light green shirt and the dark jacket, reflected in the bus window, underneath the “38” of “38 Victoria”.

Now, I approach my original point, the point referred to in the title of this.  To me, it doesn’t look as if I am standing where I obviously had to be standing.  No, it looks like the bloke in the light green shirt can’t be me, because the bus, all of it, and especially the bit with the reflection of the green shirt bloke, is a bit to my right.  Ergo, green shirt bloke had to have been standing a minimum of about three yards to the right of me, me being the bloke who took the picture.  But, despite all appearances to the contrary, me and green shirt bloke are one and the same.

I presume that this odd effect is the consequence of the lens (there is only one) in my camera being of the very wide angle sort.  This means that the camera takes a very wide view, but then makes the result look not so wide.  Everything that would be seen by the eye as being way off to the side is squeezed into the picture.  And things on the far left, to the left of the photographer at the time, are squeezed into looking as if they were on his right, in the picture.

I don’t think I’d have been able to see this nearly so vividly if this picture had not been, among other things, a selfie.  On the other hand, it was not a selfie in the sense that I deliberately included myself in the picture.  I am pretty sure that just happened, without me trying.

At the time, all I thought I was photoing was a bus, covered in a popcorn advert.