Click! Some tourist took a picture and yet another time you were caught in the background. It has happened many times before. Many strangers have a picture of you. They are American, Japanese, Italian, Korean, French, Russian… Your pictures are all over the world. You are never the main object on them. You are just a small figure in the background. Mostly, nobody will even notice you but nonetheless your are there.
Do you remember that time when you were twelve and the summer-holidays had just begun? You were standing by that fountain. A gust of wind caused it to splash you with small water droplets but it was warm, the sun was shining, so you did not mind it. You had an ice cream in your hand and your grand-parents were there too. Right then, you felt as if the summer would just go on and on and last for ever. An old German couple have a picture of that moment. They even put it in a frame and it stood on their piano for many years. Last year the old woman took it and looked at it for a while, remembering that vacation they had made. She smiled a little and then she put it in a drawer and placed a new picture in the frame.
Do you still have memories of that other time, on the school trip? Do you remember your old class mates? You lost contact with almost all of them, eventually, but on the picture you are still laughing all together behind that young couple. The pictures belongs to a Danish man and now it is in a box. The man left it in there when he moved out from the house of his parents. He has never thought of the picture again and, lately, he rarely thinks of that girl whom he is seen hugging so lovingly on it.
And what about that time by the trees? Do you remember how windy it was and how hard you were trying to hold back your tears? You did not know if you were more sad or more angry and you felt strangely empty inside except for that feeling. When those laughing tourists bumped into you, you exclaimed something that was not very nice and that you did not really mean but they did not seem to understand you anyway. They continued to take pictures of each other with the dead leaves from last autumn whirling around them. On the picture that they have of you your face is a little blurred, so nobody would be able to tell if there are any tears. And if there are any then they could not say for sure that the tears are not due to the wind in your face. The picture is saved on an old computer. The girl who took the picture had meant to delete it, along with all other pictures which were not good enough. Somehow, she never found the occasion to do so. Eventually she just forgot about it and when the computer got old she left it in a drawer, under a whole bunch of other things, and bought a new one. The picture was never transfered to the new one and neither did it ever reach the internet.
There is a picture of you when you had fallen in love for the first time. It was not the first time that you liked someone, far from it, but now it was something different. Although the day was cloudy and misty you did not even care. For you it was a day as beautiful as a day could ever be. But the woman who took the picture was not happy about the weather. She was a journalist at the time, and needed a picture for an article. When she wrote the article she had envisioned a sunny picture to go with it but now there had not been any sun in sight for a week. She snapped a few pictures, just because she had to, and then hurried back inside, away from the cold and the drizzle. Still, there you are on one of them. You are just one in a crowd, down in the left corner and almost at the edge. You look very young on the picture and a little thoughtful maybe but there is the shadow of a smile on your lips.
Do you remember how warm it was the day when you moved away from the city where you grew up? The air was wavy above the asphalt. The car was a sauna so you stepped out. The sun was in your eyes. That was when the earth started trembling. Later you would hear that the earthquake was 4,7 on the Richter scale. It was not a strong one but it was the first one you experienced. You can be seen behind the two girls on the picture. You still have the bright sunshine in your face and you are just about to say something so your expression is a little funny. The girl who took the picture still has it on her phone. She even put it on facebook and it has been seen by many at this point, even if most just scrolled past it without looking at it very carefully.
These are just a few of all the photos that strangers have of you. If you could gather them all and put them in a photo-album, then who knows if that album would not show a more honest, truthful and interesting image of your life than many of the ones that you have at home do?