Wall Photos


Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog

Jul 06, 2011 GMT
Jon maddog Hall


For reasons that I will never quite understand, people seem to like having their picture taken with me.

Most of the time I do not mind the picture taking, and I enjoy meeting people, I will admit that sometimes it gets a bit tiring. Particularly when the picture-taking process goes like this:

md (talking to someone, but noticing out of the corner of his eye someone fidgeting...): “Do you want to take a picture?”

Other person (OP): “Yes, may I take a picture of you?”

md (turning to person he was talking with): “I am sorry, but this should not take long....

The OP then:

  • searches through their backpack for the camera
  • tries to turn it on, finds out that the batteries are dead
  • refits the camera with new batteries
  • finds that the camera's memory is full of other pictures
  • carefully deletes a few pictures
  • looks for someone to take the picture
  • points out the button necessary to take the picture
  • realizes that the other fifteen people they want in the picture are not there
  • calls to those other people to get into place

We then try to take the picture and find out that the camera person really does not know how to use this camera/phone (I wonder how much the companies that make these machines pay their human interface design engineers?)

Finally the picture is taken....about five minutes after the initial “fidget”.

Sometimes these requests come as I am trying to make my way from where I am to a meeting, or (at the age of 61, is even worse) to the bathroom. And after one picture (with flash) is taken, ten more people line up, and we start the process all over again.

About two years ago I was talking with a Brazilian friend of mine, Alberto Azevedo and I was threatening to make a T-shirt that on one side would say something like:

“Yes, you can have your picture taken with me”

“No, it is not a problem...but please”

then on the back would say:

“The camera MUST be ready”

“You must know how to use it”

“Anyone that wants to be in the picture MUST be here already.”

but I never made the T-shirt.

At FISL 12 Alberto gave me a nicely embroidered T-shirt with the front and back as above.

I will be wearing this T-shirt to various conferences. Please do not mistake my intention, as I still want you to take the picture, but please be a bit more efficient about it.

Carpe Diem!


  • Good to heart it

    Hahahaha, Great! Hello my friend. I'm so glad that you liked the T-shirt. I'm sure it will be very useful from now on! And don't worry, everybody knows that you are a great guy, and have a lot of patience to take hundreds of pictures happy
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