Wednesday, January 7, 2009

TAG: You're it! ...or not...

I've had more free time than is good for me lately, as I wait for my next adventure to begin, so to while away the hours, I've been doing some scanning.

I've taken pictures throughout my teen and adult life, and am still no good at it. I took a Kodak camera to Europe when I was 17, and took pictures of everything. When I returned to the States and developed the shots, I learned an important lesson. I had taken many pictures of landmarks and scenic wonders, but they were boring as hell, and not nearly as good as a postcard. But if I happened to place one of my friends in front of Versailles, suddenly the picture had life.

From then on, I took pictures of people. I never took a picture of the gorgeous view, unless someone I cared about was standing in front of it.

During my college years, my post-college years, my grad school years, and my post-grad school years, I took thousands of pictures of the people in my life. Everyone around me was so used to my snapping candids that they didn't even remember that I had done so. Of course, one of the joys of taking pictures of your friends comes when you present them with the finished shot as a memento.

That almost never happened. I have over a dozen huge photo albums stuffed with pictures which my friends would love to have, but don't.

Along comes Facebook. With the help of my slow but efficient scanner, I am now able to share all these pictures with the folks for whom they were intended. I've spent the better part of the past week laboriously scanning various pictures onto the computer, and uploading them to FB. I love the fact that one can "tag" the photos with the people who are in them; Facebook then alerts these folks that new photos have been posted, and they can come find the pics.

I don't have any intention of posting ALL my photos, as I'm sure I have close to 10,000. But I'd like to distribute a representative number, and to that end, my Facebook Photo albums include shots of my college chums, as well as the group of actors with whom I did several shows at the Granada Dinner Theatre. I've also started an album of my grad school days, and one which contains more recent shots of one of my favorite theatrical experiences, Shear Madness, an association of which I am extremely proud. I plan to gradually add more shots to these albums.

When I was taking these pictures (some of them 30 years ago and more!), no one could have conceived that we would one day have the technology to display those photos for anyone in the world to view. So I am glad that Facebook allows anyone who has been tagged in a photo to remove that tag of themselves; as an actor, I am keenly aware how difficult it is to control one's image. I don't think anyone should be forced to have their image available for the whole world to see.

But here's the curious part. I currently have a few hundred pictures online at Facebook. One would think that, in that number, quite a few of the ladies might feel a bit self-conscious about their picture being so available, but one would be wrong. I have not had a single female friend signal her objection to a photo of herself; everyone seems to love reviving old memories and sharing a chuckle at their youth.

Out of the dozens of friends who appear in the pictures on my Facebook site, only three have UNtagged photos of themselves. All three are men.


Anonymous said...

I have not untagged myself, but I did once e-mail a friend and ask her to remove an extremely unflattering picture of me. I just didn't need family, friends, and potential employers to see me eating a hot dog at a baseball game in a highly unattractive way.

Armchair Actorvist said...

...and I hope she removed the pic! As I wrote, everyone should have the right to control access to pictures of oneself...

(though I wouldn't mind taking a peek at your offending photo, sounds like a hoot!)

JohnBoy28 said...

Hey Scott. I loved being tagged in your "Mists of Time" photos. Facebook has been great at reuniting old chums. Thanks for taking the time to do this and to think of some of us who have not been in contact for decades. -John D