SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


I Oughta Be In Pictures


June 30, 2010

Ketchikan, Alaska - Well, actually, I am.

jpg Dave Kiffer

Dozens of times a day.

You see, I work Downtown and as I go about my daily routine my picture is snapped over and over and over again.

It's pretty impossible not to take a starring role in someone else's travel photos if you spend any time in Downtown Ketchikan in the summer.

Look, there's me walking in front of the Chief Johnson totem pole.

Look, there's me walking under the Welcome Arch.

Look, there's me standing next to a Crossing Guard.

Later - in a thousand living rooms across the country - I am memorialized.

"Who's that guy in the picture?"

"Oh, just some Alaskan guy."

"Do they all look like such dorks up there?"

Of course, that's assuming that they don't get all fancydancy and Photoshop my face out.

"Is that Brad Pitt next to that Crossing Guard?"

"Uh huh."

"He looks, uhh, less imposing in person."

But I'm assuming that most folks are too lazy to do that.

Anyway, there are plenty of non-digital photos from the last decade that show me (or my car, which is even more of an attention sponge than I am) entering or exiting the frame.

Once upon a time, I tried to be polite.

If I noticed folks queuing up to snap a totem pole, I would wait until they finished.

But that led to me always being an hour late to all my appointments and meetings (actually, 55 minutes of that was just me being late anyway, but why pass up any chance to blame something on the tourists).

So eventually, I just learned to put my head down and just bull right on through the frame.

Dozens and dozens of times a day. I don't even say excuse me anymore.

But the truth is, it's kind of scary knowing that my image is gracing dozens of photo albums and hundreds of digital archives from hither to yon. And will be indefinitely, until someone hits the big delete button in the sky.

That's a lot a pressure.

I have to think about what I wear (no, no, not the hat that says "Dumb *%#$*!" ).

I have to consider my posture (shoulders back, chin up, stomach in, waaaaayyy in).

And whether or not to smile (it can sometimes look like a sardonic smirk, especially in profile).

All of this reminds me of an old 1970s era joke. Someone hijacks a bus load of (fill in your favorite traveling group here) tourists.

"We'll crack the case soon," says the Sheriff. "We got 5,342 pictures of the hijacker."

As usual I digress.

Liam loves to watch the visiting shutter bugs.

"Hey, Dad," he says gleefully. "Someone just took a picture of a stop sign!"

"Hey, Dad. Someone is taking a picture of a pigeon."

"Hey, Dad. Someone is taking a picture of a telephone pole."

I remind myself to tell him - when he's older - about the time I saw a visitor take a picture of a pile of dog doo on the Dock Street sidewalk one day.

Hey, maybe I can wear that "Dumb (bleep) cap after all!



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Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
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