The Friday Fillip

Ah, people! An endless source of interest, our fellow human beings are particularly fascinating to look at. The gaze is powerful, though, and staring is usually not socially permitted. This means that much of what we actually see of others outside our immediate circles is afforded by glimpses, hardly the best basis for soaking up the quiddities of “the other” and, perhaps, seeing oneself out there, too.

Photography comes to the rescue. And, to me at least, still photography offers something specially valuable, even though it freezes human motion. Maybe it provides the appropriate object for staring: still gaze, still object. At any rate, the fillip today offers you a 100-metre-long photograph of 178 people. The work of Danish photographer Simon Høgsberg, it’s a Flash presentation of photos taken of people on Warschauer Strasse in Berlin, aggressively titled, “We’re All Gonna Die.”

The Flash presentation has a slider below it that lets you hurry through the strip to a point of your choosing or to amble at a leisurely pace. If you should want to be the compleat spectator, click your mouse on the main photograph just to the left or right of centre and the picture will scroll by itself.

You may develop favourite strangers in the looking. I’m oddly drawn to the man and woman with matching right-eye injuries who happen to be next to the man with the injured “victory” hand. I like the guy with the earrings, smirk, and popsicle. Then there’s the chihuahua in the back pack. And who could possibly be cooler than the guy in the vest, fedora, and shades?

I was hoping to make this a real internet feast and offer you Google’s street view of Warshauer Strasse. Turns out, however, that Google isn’t done there yet; and Berlin and Google may be at odds about whether it will be allowed to publish its Street View of the city. All of which makes me think of privacy laws as they affect photographs of people… a subject to look at on another day, I think.


  1. Following up my mumble at the end, David Fraser has some good thoughts on street photography over at his Canadian Privacy Law Blog.

  2. Fantastic! I want to know the story of the elderly person in the yellow arm-band and funky cap. Wasn’t it remarkable how few people are wearing ear-buds? I think that a similar project done in Toronto would yield many more people hooked up to some sort of device.