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Defaced Portraits

with 4 comments

There has always been something terribly sad to me when it comes to pictures of people that have been defaced. I’m sure that a lot of the people being defaced probably did something to make the defacer deface them, but still there’s just an aura of innocents that seems lost.


I think it has to do with the fact that a picture is a moment in time meant to be frozen and stored away for future reference and remembrance. Most of the time the person in the picture is smiling or at least playing to the camera with some sort of joyful “cheese”, I guess there is probably a fair amount of pictures of people who are not happy, but then again I doubt those are very often defaced.


School pictures are the worst, I almost think they were invented just for other kids to maul and destroy. Do you ever take an eraser to a wallet sized picture of a fellow student who gave you their picture? You can do some serious and wacky damage with a pencil eraser. It goes back to the smiling. Here’s a picture of a kid, happy, care-free, (or at least it appears so in the picture) and then someone adds fangs, a Mohawk, glasses, an eye patch or blacked out teeth. It’s like an assault on the person in the photo, a moment of prestige ruined for all time and the victim can’t even defend themselves.


Then of course you have advertising and the random vandalization. You can see this most often on public bus benches, most of the time their realtors. I wonder what the percentage is of people who vandalize those pictures being disgruntled customers seeking out the only revenge they could muster. I’d guess 0.01%. I don’t find the same sadness in these moments. I think it’s the market angle, takes away the innocence. If it’s done originally, (or even classically) I might even find mild amusement in it.


Oddly enough, when it comes to magazines and phone books, I’m a bit of graffiti artist myself. I like to make models ugly in my wife’s clothing catalogs and make all the lawyers look like freaks and punks on the phone book. It’s a good way to pass the time when you’re on hold.


Wowzers, I never knew I was all over the board like that, sympathetic to benign to perpetrator. Who knew I was so crazy?


In all cases, I wonder what it’s like for the people of the defaced pictures to see themselves altered in such a way. I’ve never been exposed to such a horror, but I would imagine it would attack the ego and undermine self-esteem, if only for a moment. So maybe if you alter a picture, to vent frustration or act out your anger, (like drawing a dagger in the head of an unfaithful lover) just destroy it when you’re done. As for all the realtors, lawyers and anyone else brave/stupid enough to put their face of a public advertisement, well they’re just asking for it.


Here’s to defacing  you, kid.


Egg On!

Ramblin’ Rooster


Written by Ramblin' Rooster

January 20, 2009 at 4:37 am

4 Responses

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  1. I would quite like someone to give me a proper moustache – I don’t seem to be able to grow a very good one myself.


    January 20, 2009 at 12:31 pm

  2. thedailycrazy, please send me your picture and I will give you the mustache of your dreams, (or even nightmares). Thanks for commenting.

    Ramblin' Rooster

    January 21, 2009 at 4:38 am

  3. Pirate is always a good look for a picture deface, eye patch, parrot on the shoulder, hat, and hook will do the trick…also scars are fairly easy to draw too.


    January 24, 2009 at 5:10 am

    • Michael, I like all those things you mentioned. I’m also a big fan of the Frankenstein’s monster neck bolts, black eyes, tattoos and facial hair on women. Great to hear from you again.

      Ramblin' Rooster

      January 25, 2009 at 4:21 am

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