Oxford and being photographed

The insane number of photos being taken round the clock on the streets of Oxford coupled with my disinclination to be photographed prompted the following back-of-the-envelope (receipt, actually) calculation.

Assume a rate of 100 photos/minute for 10 hours per day (conservative estimate). Assume that the average photo manages to include 5 Oxford residents, whether deliberately or not (again, a conservative estimate, though it’s hard to tell since on some days the majority of people in the streets appear to be tourists). Oxford has about 165 thousand residents.

The photo rate works out to about 22 million photos per year. Using the formula (number of residents per photo(number of photos/number of residents in Oxford)) to figure out in how many photos each Oxford resident will appear (I think this is the right formula, assuming an equal distribution), we get the result that each resident will appear in a little under 700 photos per year.

So that has me appearing in about 2000 photos over the course of three years. Of course, the assumption about an equal distribution is no doubt false. But since I work in the Bodleian Library, I imagine I’m more likely to appear in more than 2000 photos, rather than fewer.

Remaining question: how many of those photos do you think are unwittingly geotagged and will end up on the internet just waiting for somebody with access to a search engine with facial recognition software to be able to trace my movements?


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One Response to Oxford and being photographed

  1. Heidi says:

    Wait until people start angrily shouting that you’ve walked through their picture when you’re on your way to work! If I had a dime for the number of times my face has inadvertently appeared in a picture of the Capitol or the Washington Monument, I’d be rich.

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