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As Agent J whose identity was scratched out and re-booted in the 1997 Hollywood Blockbuster “Men in Black”, the men in this picture await for passengers whose identity, as far as they are concerned, is simply reduced to a name in a placard.

 

How will a driver actually know that the person they were supposed to pick up is the correct one? If all they have to go by is a name, what stops somebody else from coming along and simply saying “Hi I am Mr Clark”, for instance.

 

What is to keep someone with the exact same name being picked up by a driver and taken to a destination that is not their own?

 

I have to admit that I have had the temptation many times, had I had the needed time on my hands, to explore where such an adventure of taking on someone else's identity would lead me to.

 

The internet lends itself in a way to something akin to such an experience, with the added advantage that you can get out of this given adventure, at any moment you choose to. I for instance, never know if the person I am writing to in a chat or an email is who they say the are, or who I imagine them to be.

 

People tell me all the time about such dangers, being very aware of the ease to adopt a false identity in the internet, yet they acknowledge little of the fact that in real life we can easily be fooled as well, as it can be the case of the “Men in Black” in the picture above.

 

The funniest thing happened to me once. I was a the post office picking up certified mail when the man in charge asked me for a form of identification. In jest, I pulled out of my shirt pocket a passport picture I happened to be carrying around that day. The man took a look at the picture, glanced at my face, made sure I looked like the photograph, and then promptly handed me over the registered letter. He just asked me to a sign a form confirming I had received the piece mail. In a sense, a photograph of myself became prove of my identity.

 

I wonder how does any of this differ with the drivers picking unknown passengers at the airport?

 

Share with us your own stories of identity and photographs.

 

Pedro Meyer
Mexico City
February 2011

 


 

Comments (9)
  • Mark  - Chasers....
    I think you guys need to look at this....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIEsc4isonw
  • doc  - it happened to me
    The very thing you talk about here happened to me in China years ago. I arrived at Beijing airport expecting to be collected at the arrival gate. I waited and waited to see my sign-name and finally gave up and made my own way to my hotel. I later found out that somebody had indeed been collected by the agency that day!
  • Lisa Samloglou  - Storytelling
    Me encanta your storytelling Pedro,in writing as much as in photos! Your words and your lenses imprint 'a sense' or 'give an identity'. Even if identities are elusive,as in your editorial, and our faces ephemeral and often unrecognizable from young to old, at first sight, I think that in the compendium of images we find ourselves today,one needs a guide, or an interpretor...muchos gracias, Lisa
  • Nancy Lopez
    Me pasa lo mismo cada vez que recojo mi cheque, me piden mi identificacion y despues de verificar el nombre y la fotografia,
    preguntan por los ultimos quatro numeros de mi Seguro Social.
  • Dr. Juan Pérez Amor  - Prescripción médica
    Querido Pedro,
    Con enorme gusto me he registrado en Zone Zero.
    Ha pasado mucho tiempo sin sabernos uno del otro.
    Yo estoy retirado por motivos de salud pero sigo dándole a la Mac con mucho entusiasmo. Espero que tu estes bien de salud y por como veo tu sitio me percato de que la piedra te sigue rodando a todo lo que da.
    Una gran felicitación por Zone Zero y por tu trabajo personal.
    Espero no cambies tu identidad por la del Sr. Martínez y que te lleve por derroteros inesperados que te alejen de todos tus amigos y admiradores de tu labor fotográfica.
    Un saludo afectuso y la prescripción es de seguir con la misma dósis.

    Juan Pérez Amor.
  • Diana Isabel Pando  - Juanito querido...
    Con la muerte de Carlos Fuentes, como envidie siempre tu maravillosa ventana, donde lo veias escribir.
    Cecilia Verea y yo estabamos platicando de ti, justo hace unas horas por telefono.

    Las dos llegamos a la conclusion de que eres un hombre que a lucido su apellido materno, porque un AMOR si que has sido.

    xxx
    Diana
  • B. Goday  - hola
    Hola Juan,

    Te he encontrado por ahi, ya ves. Si es verdad que le sigues dando al Mac...


    bgoday@gmail.com
  • Irene Sanchis Sala  - Necrológica
    ...no sé porqué una de las anécdotas de la historia de la fotografía que no puedo olvidar es la que se refiere a su influencia en el desarrollo de la llamada Ciencia forense y sus aplicaciones policiales. Durante un tiempo, la policía creyó que el registro de la imagen de un asesino quedaba en la pupila de la víctima, influenciada por la comparación del ojo y la cámara. El uso de la fotografía en la criminalística nació allá por finales de 1860, cuando el padre de los detectives privados, Allan Pinkerton, la utilizó por primera vez como documento veraz para la resolución de casos.
    La fotografía forense se presentaba como la expresión máxima de la búsqueda de la veracidad en la fotografía, ya que su objetivo era mostrar detalladamente aquello que escapa a la inspección ocular. Al ser su objeto de captación escenas del crimen o detalles del cuerpo de una persona muerta, se vuelve la práctica extrema del realismo y un relato visual que complementa en forma perfecta a lo hablado o escrito.
    En Blow-Up Antonioni desmonta en parte y con lucidez el mito del realismo fotográfico, aunque sigamos presos de esa fantasía pese a las numerosas ocasiones en que se ha demostrado su falacia.
    Como presos seguimos en la jaula de el Tiempo.
  • Milton Greene.
    Pedro, email if you get this. It's been toooooo long.

    Milt
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