Taking photos of humans (and posting to the world) without permission – seriously creepy

Schnikes!  If the scientific community has not already done this, I hope they dedicate research into the odd behavior I see again and again online regarding the capturing of photos of humans and the subsequent posting of the photos to public social media platforms without the consent/knowledge of the humans in the photos.

The cycle is always the same:

  1. A person with a camera is in a public place
  2. The person takes a photo of a stranger in the public place
  3. The person publishes the photo to social media with the plea to “help me find this person….blah blah blah”
  4. The person pleads their case in a disguise of kindness and goodwill in the hopes they will not be deemed a freakish stalker by the masses for taking a photo of a human in public and then sharing the human’s photo with the world without his or her permission or knowledge.
  5. The masses go hog wild for the heart-warming tale

The cycle changes drastically when these scenarios are encountered:

SCENARIO 1:  If the person(s) in the photograph has no obvious physical abnormalities (scars, too thin, too heavy, too short, too tall, crooked teeth, stained teeth, unflattering expression, unflattering hair style, etc.), public reactions appear to be primarily in supportive of the photographer posting the photo of the stranger.  Supporters are quick to point out specific laws are on the side of the photographer when snapping certain kinds of photos in public, or they gush about the artistic qualities of the photograph or how the photo is bringing great joy and those questioning the behavior of snapping photos of humans are quickly dismissed as being paranoid or foolish.  A happy ending of making a “connection” with the world and the human is often a heartwarming end result.

SCENARIO 2:  If the person(s) in the photograph show signs of physical abnormalities (scars, too thin, too heavy, too short, too tall, crooked teeth, stained teeth, unflattering expression, unflattering hair style, etc.), public reactions appear to be primarily hostile toward the human in the photo with no real reactions one way or the other to the photographer.  The ending in this scenario leads to public humiliation for the subject of the photo.

Other scenarios occur as well but the two noted above seem to garner the most extreme reactions from the masses.  Different groups of people will engage in scenarios best suited to their default behaviors but I wonder if the reactionaries consider the consequences of the publicity of the subjects.  This is not a photo tucked into a photo album on grandma’s coffee table, it is a photo distributed world wide – huge difference.

I think it is seriously creepy to photograph a human (without his or her permission) and then post the photo online for the world to see.  I don’t know how famous people deal with this behavior.  It is so strange.  Science can only observe and study and then tell us why we behave the way we do.  Maybe it doesn’t matter what we do or who we do it to because in the end we are nothing more than rotting matter in the dirt that once stained our faces.

[scary music of doom here] 😉

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