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Tin Eye For The Obsessive Guy

At S & M = Smoke & Mirrors I found this image of a man admiring the pinups pinned-up around his bed.

Miss Fussypants found the image at The Cigarette Tree, but there the trail for information goes cold — as it does at so many Tumblr sites, where people just don’t don’t seem to care about sharing any information about the images they share. *sigh*

As you know, this show-without-tell bothers me greatly.

Number one, it’s a disservice to those who create works and/or own the rights to works, if not out-right theft. And number two, it prevents those of us who collect objects &/or information from gathering either.

But thanks to TinEye.com, collectors and obsessives like myself can now do a “reverse image search” and, in many cases, find the information they seek.

How it works is simple:

Option A), upload an image from your pc. (Awesome if you, like so many of us did early on, snagged pics from forums etc., and have no clue where you got it, didn’t name it, etc.).

or,

Option B), use the other “box” to insert the image location — either the page or the file location itself; then click the search button. (This is what I did for this particular image.)

Now it’s just a matter of a few seconds…

Hopefully, usually, you’ll get a list of images which includes the location of the image file as well as the page or post the image is published on; sometimes, you get nothing. I’d say that only happens maybe 10% of the time — which can be frustrating. But that’s a 90% satisfaction rate on something I just felt screwed on before.

Now, depending upon the source, you may or may not be finished.

For example, with this image, I decided the Amazon link would be the most informative source. But it wasn’t. The image belonged to a page in Photographie des Zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts. Museum Ludwig Köln. (Taschen’s 20th Century Photography), but the text of the scan was too small to read. However, at the next link I got lucky.

At Rhyme Culture the author states the image belongs to photographer Robert Doisneau and was presumably found in Icons: Robert Doisneau: 1912-1994 (also a Taschen book).

However, I still didn’t know much about the particular photograph itself.

So I then turned to Google, did a search for “Robert Doisneau man looking at pin ups,” and at Photoicon not only did I learn the title of the photograph (Pinups, Paris, 1952), and a larger copy of the image itself, but found a great interview with Doisneau as well.

The interview took place in 1983, and includes discussion of Pinups:

The man lying on the bed was a docker, but in the evenings he’d work in the streets and in cabaret making a little money by sticking pins in his arms. He was ‘The Insensible Man’. I met him in a café. I had not known him for long – only four or five days – and he invited me back to his room because he thought I might be interested in the drawings on his wall that he thought were photographs. As soon as I saw them they reminded me of long-distance lorry drivers’ pin-ups, so I asked him to lie on the bed and I took this photograph. He became very possessive about me and when he introduced me to his friends he’d say, ‘This is Robert, my personal photographer’. Alas, I lost touch with him. This picture is the parody of the masculine man.

Without using TinEye, I may never have gotten this far. Or at least so fast.

I highly recommend using TinEye, whether you’re a collector, a history buff, or just a horny dog looking for the name of the model you’re lusting after.

And if you do use it, please donate so the service can continue to serve us.

Posted in Books, Collecting, Essays, Photographs.

Tagged with , , , , .


3 Responses

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  1. Ferry Fey says

    I really appreciate the way you talked through the process of using Tineye, making decisions about what further information to look for, and articulated in detail not only how to do it but why to do it. Most people who use the internet don’t understand that this sort of generosity is not only possible, but desirable, and it helps to have it modeled.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. We’ve Become Too Familiar – Silent Porn Star linked to this post on June 9, 2011

    […] Sunglasses, the following clippings with dating tips for girls are from a 1938 magazine (I tried using TinEye, to no avail in terms of the vintage publication’s […]

  2. Things I Learned At and About Tumblr linked to this post on April 20, 2012

    […] to put a lot of work in to searching for the images. (For that I use TinEye; a detailed account of how and why to use it is here — the site is […]



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