homeabout kottke.orgarchives + tags

What’s the most photographed thing ever?

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 14, 2005

What’s the most photographed thing ever?.

Reader comments

tienFeb 14, 2005 at 9:20PM

i’m just going to say the gates because i’m suffering from gates overload. and at this rate, i will be #1.

zacFeb 14, 2005 at 9:51PM

Fingers (usually at the frame edge).
Oh, you mean the most photographed single thing?!

NebelFeb 15, 2005 at 12:51AM

God. (Think about it.)

sjcFeb 15, 2005 at 12:51AM

The female breast.

Donnie MillarFeb 15, 2005 at 2:59AM

It has got to be pets. Oh the humanity!

Bobby DragulescuFeb 15, 2005 at 3:00AM

This question is deceivingly complicated. In order to come up with a reasonable answer, I am going to assume a few things to get a feel for the essence of the question (as I see it fit).

I am assuming that we are talking about a quantitative object, so things like sky, the ocean, and sand are out. I am going to assume that we are talking about a single thing, so camera lens glass, fingers, and boobs are out because they are different instances of the same thing. I’m also going to assume, quite liberally, that it conforms to our mental expectation of a “thing” (at least mine). So I’m basically thinking about singular, man-made objects that are not ridiculously large or small. Again, it’s totally subjective, but I feel that those terms kind of get to the essence of the question.

So that said… here are some suggestions:
- The Mona Lisa.
- Any given photo backboard at the Staten Island immigration center.
-

10 minutes later… that’s really all I can come up with.

eoisaFeb 15, 2005 at 5:00AM

I’d have to go with the Eiffel tower.
Or, if we’re talking about particularly silly instances of pictures, i’d say people pretending to hold the leaning tower of Pisa.

SunnyFeb 15, 2005 at 6:05AM

Always: Light.

General subject: Sky

Single object: Eiffel Tower

ypFeb 15, 2005 at 8:24AM

a strand of hair? (in terms of # count through portraits?)

Matt BFeb 15, 2005 at 9:58AM

Well, if we consider “The Gates” to be an event, we’d have to compare it to events like the Olympics (which lasts 17 days, is attended by hundreds of thousands of tourists, all of whom bring cameras) or the Muslim hajj (not so many cameras). I don’t know if The Gates can be compared to the Mona Lisa (or the Eiffel Tower or the Great Wall of China) since it’s been around since the invention of photography. So, I say The Gates is certainly the most photographed event in 2005, but probably not photographed as much as the 2004 Olympics.
I wish that the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago had been the most photographed event ever, but alas, they limited photography to just a single “official” photographer and his work was horribly incomplete.

emilyFeb 15, 2005 at 11:08AM

I think it’s probably Jennifer Aniston.

KirkFeb 15, 2005 at 11:36AM

I think I heard somewhere that it was the Mona Lisa.

JohnFeb 15, 2005 at 11:38AM

I don’t know what the “most photographed thing ever” is, but it’s definitely not The Gates — it’s only going to be up for 16 days. Compare that with how many people have, over the decades, taken pictures of the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Twin Towers, any monument/memorial in Washington DC, the Hollywood sign, the Golden Gate Bridge, or the Gateway Arch.

And that’s just in the US.

Throw in the CN Tower, Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, any Roman-era structure in Rome, the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, etc etc etc, and any one of those things has been photographed waaaaay more than The Gates ever will be.

djacobsFeb 15, 2005 at 11:38AM

I am pretty sure it’s the moon, especially when you count astronomers. Individual frames of film DO count, but digital films don’t since they aren’t assembled stills, rather it’s just a log of the difference.

MaxigumeeFeb 15, 2005 at 1:36PM

I’d say clouds or the sky. If people are bored or there’s nothing to take a picture of, it’s like, “hey! It’s the sky!” And plus, in almost every outdoors picture, the sky’s in that.

mr nice guyFeb 15, 2005 at 1:38PM

i actually for real think it might be princess di.

John FrostFeb 15, 2005 at 2:19PM

I believe at one time Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland claimed to be the most photographed building ever.

Arthur Davidson FickeFeb 15, 2005 at 5:12PM

Pissed-off cats.

PeteFeb 16, 2005 at 12:16PM

With all of New York’s bloggers and camera geeks and such, plus tourists, The Gates will probably be photographed at the highest frequency in its 16 days of existence.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.

We Work Remotely