The Banality of Surveillance Photos
Interesting essay on a trove on surveillance photos from Cold War-era Prague.
Cops, even secret cops, are for the most part ordinary people. Working stiffs concerned with holding down jobs and earning a living. Even those who thought it was important to find enemies recognized the absurdity of their task.
I take photos all the time and these empty blurry frames tell me that they were made intentionally. Shot out of boredom, as little acts of defiance, the secret police wandered the streets of Prague for twenty years taking lousy pictures of people from far away because a job is a job.
Occasionally something interesting happened, like spotting a hot stylish, American made Ford Mustang Sally. However, it must have been an awful job, with dull days that turned into months and years, of killing time between lunch and dinner.