Object Permanence
July 5, 2016 2:00 PM   Subscribe

 
I like these! They remind me of one of my favorite tourist photos of Giza.
posted by griphus at 2:03 PM on July 5, 2016 [32 favorites]


Butts!
posted by jillithd at 2:05 PM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


I had fun looking at the photos and trying to guess the unseen monument. I got a few right.
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:09 PM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is brilliant.
posted by Sphinx at 2:09 PM on July 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


The Mona Lisa is the first thing I thought of when I started scrolling through. It's a surreal experience standing in that room watching dozens of people crammed around that little picture, when there are so many other huge and beautiful paintings just a few feet away being completely ignored.
posted by something something at 2:11 PM on July 5, 2016 [27 favorites]


I love the Mona Lisa one.
posted by Mitheral at 2:12 PM on July 5, 2016


The Mona Lisa one is good cause, yeah if you turn around there is the MASSIVE Wedding At Cana which is more worth your time and no one is crowding it.
posted by The Whelk at 2:12 PM on July 5, 2016 [25 favorites]


I love the Pareidolia at Auschwitz!
posted by toddforbid at 2:19 PM on July 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


This was hella cool - was kind of hoping for mt. Rushmore which has to be one of the oddest monuments to see in person
posted by speakeasy at 2:24 PM on July 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


How about the Leaning Tower of Pisa? I'm imagining a whole bunch of people on a lean or holding up one arm.
posted by Paragon at 2:30 PM on July 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


Where is the Teotihuacan one taken from? I was expecting a lot more walls or the entrance causeway.
posted by hydrobatidae at 2:37 PM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, hey, I actually took one of these myself of the Venus de Milo. I was amused that you could walk around behind it, and also amused by the throngs of people so busy taking her picture that they didn't notice I was taking THEIR picture.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:38 PM on July 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


I like the idea of taking the wrong side or a piece of the monument, but wasn't sure about a couple - were the monuments actually in all of them? Or were some taken facing away from them?
posted by maryr at 2:40 PM on July 5, 2016


How about the Leaning Tower of Pisa? I'm imagining a whole bunch of people on a lean or holding up one arm.

Looks like there's a fenced-off lawn that keeps you from being in the right place for a reverse shot, but maybe this is close enough?
posted by JoeZydeco at 2:44 PM on July 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


posted by griphus They remind me of one of my favorite tourist photos of Giza.

I'm starting a petition to change that franchise name to Giza Hut. WE CAN MAKE THIS HAPPEN, PEOPLE!
posted by mattdidthat at 2:48 PM on July 5, 2016 [17 favorites]


It all reminds me a bit of the famous (apocryphal?) story about Guy de Maupassant, who often had lunch in a restaurant int he Eiffel Tower because it was the only place in Paris he could be sure not to see it.
posted by kewb at 2:54 PM on July 5, 2016 [24 favorites]


Maryr, it seems like most are behind the photographer. In the Rio one, the photographer is directly below the statue, and 'seeing' everything the statue sees. Likewise for the Mona Lisa. In the Lincoln memorial one, that is part of the building, but a less interesting side wall. For the Taj Mahal, that's a pool in front of the more famous structure. I also had fun trying to guess the monuments in question. Some were surprisingly easy, but then, I have been quite fortunate in that I've seen more than what is probably my fair share. I was hoping for the pyramids at Gaza because I understand it's quite trashy all around them.
posted by os tuberoes at 3:00 PM on July 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Niagara Falls would be indistinguishable from Gatlinburg in the "right" direction.
posted by Bringer Tom at 3:02 PM on July 5, 2016 [9 favorites]


The Mao one is funny because Tiananmen is itself quite a popular tourist photo.
posted by kmz at 3:06 PM on July 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


I've had people who have been to San Antonio tell me that, for a historical site and the most important part of Texas' state mythology, the Alamo and its surroundings are remarkably nondescript.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:12 PM on July 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


I've had people who have been to San Antonio tell me that, for a historical site and the most important part of Texas' state mythology, the Alamo and its surroundings are remarkably nondescript.

It's a fairly small, dull-looking adobe building, and unlike Santa Fe or some other southwestern cities, San Antonio made no effort to enforce architectural unity in its historical district.
posted by kewb at 3:14 PM on July 5, 2016 [13 favorites]


The Mona Lisa is the first thing I thought of when I started scrolling through. It's a surreal experience standing in that room watching dozens of people crammed around that little picture, when there are so many other huge and beautiful paintings just a few feet away being completely ignored.

When I went, the painting opposite the Mona Lisa was Liberty Leading the People. It's a well-known painting, and I would imagine most people who are into art would know it, but not the kind of famous painting that shows up on tote bags and college dorm room posters. I happened to be familiar with it because it was on the cover of a book I had to read for one of my high school classes, and our teacher made us study the symbolism in it. So for me it was this huge thrill, to see one of the few non-famous paintings I would even recognize, and to do it in a crowded room where nobody else was paying even the slightest attention to it.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:15 PM on July 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


This is the wrong side of the most famous picture of me.
posted by MrMoonPie at 3:36 PM on July 5, 2016 [36 favorites]


OMG! Crop circles outside Stonehenge!!!
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:37 PM on July 5, 2016 [9 favorites]


How about the Leaning Tower of Pisa? I'm imagining a whole bunch of people on a lean or holding up one arm.


They did pretty well to get the Christ the Redeemer shot without getting the 400 people doing the pose in front.
posted by biffa at 3:42 PM on July 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


The Mao one is funny because Tiananmen is itself quite a popular tourist photo.

The White House one I like because Lafayette Square is a pretty pleasant place in itself, and whenever I had lunch there it was full of European tourists excitedly taking pictures of the urban squirrels (which I gather are much less common on That Fair Continent).
posted by psoas at 3:46 PM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


The pic of Christ the Redeemer is kind of funny because that is actually the view intended for people to see.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:11 PM on July 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


The Christ the Redeemer photo is breathtaking, and probably the direction I'd be looking. The Great Wall photo is awesome, I've been there! That's the Mutianyu section, which has a convenient chairlift to get up to the wall, and then a sweet bobsled ride back down to the base. That picture is looking at the shade over the start of the sled track.

The chairlift and bobsled are key because otherwise you'd waste all your energy trekking up to the wall and back down again. Also, when I went someone had tagged the word "NECKFACE" on the track.
posted by Existential Dread at 4:34 PM on July 5, 2016 [8 favorites]


It's like you can empathize with the monument, seeing what it sees.
posted by Obscure Reference at 4:53 PM on July 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


Lafayette Square is a pretty pleasant place in itself, and whenever I had lunch there

America's favorite lunching Frenchman!
posted by asterix at 4:55 PM on July 5, 2016 [17 favorites]


Mostly low cloud the day we were up there.
posted by biffa at 5:08 PM on July 5, 2016


These are great, and might be the only reason I could ever be convinced to fight my way through the crowds at some of these.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:23 PM on July 5, 2016


I love the Pareidolia at Auschwitz!

You can get t-shirts that say this at their gift shop
posted by Greg Nog at 6:58 PM on July 5, 2016 [16 favorites]


I remember when I visited the Louvre someone telling me "Pay no attention to the Mona Lisa. Walk directly to the Virgin of the Rocks in the corner, that nobody will be looking at."
posted by lagomorphius at 7:50 PM on July 5, 2016


Am I just old or going blind but it seems like every other webpage uses tiny fonts that are designed like fairy wings and are a pale grey color. Jus' sayin' Sheesh
posted by Freedomboy at 8:02 PM on July 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


I love this idea..not least because I was doing it myself a few years ago with the best known lighthouses in Maine. It does make a good guessing game, too. (One very hard one to get right would be the HOLLYWOOD sign, shown at the photographer's own website.)
posted by LeLiLo at 8:06 PM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


This collection is worthless without a picture of hundreds of people awkwardly holding their palms out in a park in italy.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 8:23 PM on July 5, 2016 [11 favorites]


are people doing donuts behind stonehenge? whats with those tire tracks?
posted by Hoopo at 8:53 PM on July 5, 2016


Armchair travellers can play at this, too:

The Registan.

Uluru.
posted by Autumn Leaf at 9:05 PM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Where is the Teotihuacan one taken from? I was expecting a lot more walls or the entrance causeway.

It's been ten years since I was there, but I remember the walk from the parking area to the street of the dead being remarkably uninteresting, and looking a lot like that photo.
posted by landunderwave at 10:38 PM on July 5, 2016


(One very hard one to get right would be the HOLLYWOOD sign, shown at the photographer's own website.)

Well, one reason it'd be hard to get is that the picture isn't taken from the sign. You can't get anywhere near it in a car, and you also can't hike that close either. Well, legally.
posted by sideshow at 11:21 PM on July 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Here's me standing in front of the H of the Hollywood sign. The view down the hill looks like every shot of Los Angeles taken from the Hollywood Hills ever.
posted by maxsparber at 11:27 PM on July 5, 2016


Couldn't agree more with the one from the Louvre. The Mona Lisa is one of the most overrated paintings in history, and there is so much more soul-enriching artwork than that at the Louvre.
posted by prepmonkey at 5:27 AM on July 6, 2016


The White House one I like because Lafayette Square is a pretty pleasant place in itself, and whenever I had lunch there it was full of European tourists excitedly taking pictures of the urban squirrels (which I gather are much less common on That Fair Continent).

It's kind of off topic, but I find it interesting — this is the result of an intentional effort by urban reformers and nature enthusiasts in 19th century America. See: The Urbanization of the Eastern Gray Squirrel in the United States.
posted by RichardP at 6:37 AM on July 6, 2016 [11 favorites]


Warning, that squirrel article is a total timesink.
posted by spinturtle at 7:38 AM on July 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Squirrel!
posted by mosk at 8:30 AM on July 6, 2016


See: The Urbanization of the Eastern Gray Squirrel in the United States.

Huh! I learned a thing.

& of course Ben Franklin had a pet squirrel. For all his other contributions to the Commonwealth, he was definitely America's Founding Fedora Guy.
posted by psoas at 8:37 AM on July 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


One of the things that surprised me about from moving from Virginia to the SF Bay area is how landscape-dependent squirrels are. I should have known it, of course, but I grew up thinking of them as creatures that could and would exist in any human environment, like pigeons and rats. But that was the 'well-watered slopes of the Appalachians', where nutbearing trees are on every block. Here there are many fewer trees overall, and a lot of them are palms and conifers and other less generous trees. So there's only a healthy colony near me at SJSU, which is landscaped in a fairly Eastern way. I did have one old battered squirrel who would come across the street to raid my birdseed, and now I have a young and very clumsy one who does the same, but they are the outliers. So it was interesting to read how they didn't become urban even in the East until cities were landscaped for them.
posted by tavella at 9:27 AM on July 6, 2016


are people doing donuts behind stonehenge? whats with those tire tracks?
My guess is that those are from mobility scooters considering where they are and the turning radius. Tourists walk on the left half of the photo, between the chain link fence on the left and the low rope line near the center. If he had turned about 20 degrees to the right, he would have had some rocks in the frame. There are sheep grazing there which would have made a different but still interesting picture.
posted by soelo at 12:01 PM on July 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


From the introduction I expected to see the back side of famous locations, not on the front side facing away. Honestly, I was a bit disappointed.
posted by pmurray63 at 1:12 PM on July 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


There are sheep grazing there which would have made a different but still interesting picture.

There is some fantastically beautiful countryside in Wiltshire, mainly rolling arable fields, but also some pretty great sheep grazing, including near Avebury for example. But the fields around Stonehenge are a unique combination of the bleak and the crowded, of the built up and the windswept.

I'm not saying that there's nothing to Stonehenge. It's a remarkable place, and well worth the visit. But it's a place where you visit, get the gestalt of these giant stones moved by people who didn't have all the things that make it easy for us to moved giant stones, walk around it a few times, think about what it might have meant in a different world and then maybe contemplate how they did it. And walk round another time, looking away from the stones and imagining what it was like when this was the only permanent building around there.

I'm not saying Stonehenge is overrated. I'm saying that if you spend more than 10 minutes there, your overall feeling about having visited will turn from "awesome" to "deathly dull".
posted by ambrosen at 6:14 AM on July 7, 2016


I spent about two hours there in May. I wouldn't describe it as dull at all.
posted by soelo at 6:59 AM on July 7, 2016


I'm not saying Stonehenge is overrated. I'm saying that if you spend more than 10 minutes there, your overall feeling about having visited will turn from "awesome" to "deathly dull".

I mean, if that's your experience, ok? But I visited twice in my childhood for extended time periods (I lived a 15 minute drive from Stonehenge) and both times I found the experience to be utterly astonishing, and they are among my cherished memories, among the things I have done in my life that I am forever glad to have done.
posted by maxsparber at 8:25 AM on July 7, 2016


are people doing donuts behind stonehenge? whats with those tire tracks?

They look like bobcat tracks to me. The ubiquitous skid-steer equipment used for landscaping. Either that, or a zero-turn mower with chunky treads.

Also, shouldn't the mona lisa photo have a LOT more people in it? I've heard/read that it's not worth even trying to see in person, because of the crowds and it's "meh" size/quality in real life.
posted by Mr. Big Business at 8:25 AM on July 7, 2016


It was clearly taken from the back of the Mona Lisa viewing crowd, otherwise, yes, it would be a see of face, pointing towards the camera and not away from it. When I saw it, I'd say the crowd was tightly packed, and about six people deep in a semi-circle all around the Mona Lisa. It didn't, of course, help the crowd that I saw it with a bus tour of about 35 people, so we contributed not insignificantly to that crowd.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:48 AM on July 7, 2016


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