A montage of stirring photos

Sometimes when I eat lunch I watch YouTube videos, and of course they suggest other videos on the right margin because the damn site collects your history. Well, that’s not all bad, because I like to look at photography, and so this 15-minute video was suggested to me. There are some wonderful photos here, and some affirmations of humanity, as well as some sad photos and amazing ones, too. Each photo in the 77-picture series is described in words.

My favorites are these:

72 and

I like the ones with cats, of course, but there are many with tragedy, including war, and many showing human compassion. I don’t see any real theme in what I like, but after seeing this I thought, “What a fantastic and varied thing is this life that we’re granted. It’s a mixture of happiness and tragedy and the wonder of quotidian things that we often fail to notice. Why would anybody get tired of this and want to die?”


  1. randallschenck
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    How do you get a comment without a reply. Maybe you are a commentshopped.

  2. Michael Sternberg
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    The photos sure leave impressions, but this video irks me on two accounts:

    (1) Video is a poor medium for the presentation of photos. You cannot proceed at your of pace, and pausing the video overlays play controls over the video, even if briefly. The pixel size is also not comparable to what a good photo presentation could offer.

    (2) No credit is given to the photographers, there is no other metdata, no further context, and no sources. A lack of these (. credit) might be fine for “art” shots, but, say, for the leading doctor picture one might want to learn more. A YouTube video’s description would be a (barely) suitable place to put such information, but there’s nothing here.

    In the similar-form video the other day about rare historic pictures, commenters noted numerous inaccuracies in the captions.

    All of these aspects make the channel look a bit sordid.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      [1] If you click the “YouTube” wording, bottom right of the frame it opens the video in its own tab. From there, if the video has focus, you can control the video via your keyboard which doesn’t bring up the YT overlay. e.g. “pause” & “unpause” can be controlled via the space bar or by other keys

      list of keyboard shortcuts HERE

      I set the video to play at double speed via the gear wheel [bottom right] with sound off & pause when I like with the space bar

      Full screen 1080p is OKish quality, but yes, It ain’t spectacular

      [2] It is a shame that images are ripped without reference/permission & titles/notes inaccurate or misleading [particularly true in Twitter] – I suspect many people know nothing about the ethics of this.

      That said, I think it might open some peoples eyes who don’t venture beyond YT.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 6, 2019 at 5:03 am | Permalink

        I just step through it with the right and left cursor buttons.

        I agree some of the notes are either misleading or uninformative. As for example #19 – I suspect the Spanish Civil War, but there are obviously a lot of circumstances that could be explained (but aren’t).

        Or #09 – “Groom crying tears of joy after seeing his bride for the first time”. Wtf? Mail order bride? Arranged marriage? The mother of all blind dates? Was he blind-from-birth & just had a successful eye operation?

        Or #53 – “A Sad Old Man” which is just silly (the title, not the photo). He’s at a memorial service, he may be quite a happy chappy when he isn’t attending a solemn occasion, but there’s no context.

        The title (“Most powerful photos ever”) way oversells it. Some are, many aren’t.


    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      P.S. I find it difficult to watch such montages – too affecting if I’m unprepared.

    • Gabrielle
      Posted March 6, 2019 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      Some of those photos may be still under copyright. The person who made the video is making money from the YouTube ads that run on their channel, off of the professional work of other people, without the permission of the photographers. Yeah, it’s sordid.

      The video is made by a person who says they are from Spain, and it’s been viewed about 1.6 million times.

  3. Jenny Haniver
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    When one is in the throes of deep intractable depression, death doesn’t look so bad.

  4. merilee
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 6:09 pm | Permalink


  5. mallardbrad
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    JAC you are so right. Human compassion is far more remarkable than the mendacious acts of war.

  6. Posted March 5, 2019 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Total off-topic, but what you think of the change in the taxonomic classification of cats (where “Felis silvestris” will be split, like some decades ago, between “Felis silvestris”, “Felis catus” and “Felis lybica”?


    • Posted March 5, 2019 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      Doesn’t make a lot of sense to me; cats are domesticated versions of F. silvestris, and there’s no indication that the subspecies of that wild cat are reproductively isolated (they’re allopatric, for one thing).

      I’d have to know more about why they did this, though.

  7. rickflick
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    It’s both uplifting and depressing at the same time. An emotional roller coaster. However, I did find it enjoyable overall and inspiring. The sadness of many of these was offset, somewhat, for me when I reflected on Steven Pinker’s recent books about the dramatic improvement in living conditions that has occurred worldwide. Let’s hope progress will continue and more smiles than tears will appear.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      Amen & God Save the Queen! 🙂

      • merilee
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        Always suspected you of being a closet religious royalist, Michael🤓

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted March 5, 2019 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

          Yeah – that’s us Irish born Catlicks for ya 🙂

      • rickflick
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

        What. She’s in trouble too?

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted March 5, 2019 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

          Just balancing up the Universe. I don’t really want Charlie or any of the rest of that mob to carry on the charade, though I would rather that than the worship of monied political dynasties, the almost holy status of the US flag, the singing of their silly anthem at sporting events with hand over heart…

          Is the American flag still displayed in every US classroom?

          • Posted March 5, 2019 at 8:36 pm | Permalink


          • rickflick
            Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

            I would be totally surprised if the flag was not displayed in a majority of USian classrooms. I went to school in a small town in Michigan. They had the flags. I don’t know if they still have flags in their classrooms but I strongly suspect they do. Patriotism, don’t you know. Alabama and Texas probably have thousands of flag waving classrooms. Here, in the US, the focus is on local districts. There is not so much of a national system.

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

              Thanks, that’s the impression I got re Old Glory’s classroom prevalence.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

                My cousins had to take the pledge of allegiance every morning when they were in school in California. I don’t know if that’s still the case there. It’s goddy so I don’t know how it got to stay in schools but so it goes.

              • merilee
                Posted March 5, 2019 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

                We had to do it in the 50s. When I went to The American School in London [960-62]we had to sing both The Star Spangled Banner AND God Save the Queen every day (week?) at assembly. Admittedly most of us kind of muttered god save their queen.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted March 6, 2019 at 5:06 am | Permalink

                @Merilee: Just think of it as My Country ‘Tis of Thee’ with alternative words 😉


              • merilee
                Posted March 6, 2019 at 8:16 am | Permalink

                🤓Not one of my faves, either. Too goddy. I think I like America the Beautiful the best (if we could just remove “god shed his grace on thee”…)

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted March 6, 2019 at 8:50 am | Permalink

                I liked Canada’s “The Maple Leaf Forever” instead of “O Canada” but it had all those anti-French bits (which I thought we could have removed). It’s at least more up-beat. O Canada sounds like dire funeral music.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted March 7, 2019 at 5:29 am | Permalink


                Yes, I agree, in terms of musicality ‘America The Beautiful’ wins hands down.


              • merilee
                Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink


  8. Michael Waterhouse
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    I happened to be in Afghanistan in 1979 and saw a girl who’s amazingly beautiful face I remember to this day, thanks to her dazzling green eyes and beautiful smile.

    There is something about those eyes.

    • merilee
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      I find Afghans in general to be a very attractive bunch physically.

      • Mark R.
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

        Like that famous Nat. Geo. photo. There is something about green eyes. I have green eyes, maybe that’s it. 🙂

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

          My eyes are blue & green. They were blue when I was a kid but they seem green now. I put “green” on my Canadian passport finally. I wonder what I put on the NZ one. I always think that’s how I will get in trouble and will have to explain that sometimes my eyes are blue & other times they are green. Crap, what did I put on my Nexus?!

          • Mark R.
            Posted March 6, 2019 at 1:17 am | Permalink

            When in doubt, put down: hazel.

            • merilee
              Posted March 6, 2019 at 8:09 am | Permalink

              Good idea. I got my blue eyes from my teo grandfathers. Both parents and all 3 brothers have/had hazel eyes. All but one of 10 maternal cousins, too.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted March 6, 2019 at 8:39 am | Permalink

              I don’t think it’s an option on those forms. You get “blue, green, brown”.

              • Mark R.
                Posted March 6, 2019 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

                Yeah, don’t think I’ve seen that option either.

      • darrelle
        Posted March 6, 2019 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        Tis said that the most beautiful woman to have lived was the Bactrian (an ancient region to which present day Afghanistan was central) princess Roxana. Alexander The Great was smitten by her at first sight and married her, to the vehement protest of his staff.

  9. Diana MacPherson
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    The girl with the candy cigarette looks like she’s on her third divorce.

    • rickflick
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 7:41 pm | Permalink


    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 8:09 pm | Permalink


    • Posted March 6, 2019 at 5:57 am | Permalink

      I certainly remember the kinds made of bubble gum. Packaged in little ‘cigarette’ boxes that looked like actual brands. Different times.

  10. Mark R.
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    I saw a theme in what you liked. After each of your choices, I wrote a + or a – to describe whether (I subjectively thought) the photo was uplifting/positive or sad/negative. I regarded some (like the crying musicians at funerals) to be positive because it affirmed the beauty of life. So out of your favorites, I thought only 3 were downright depressing. You’re a positive man. 🙂 Which your last sentence reveals. As if any reader would think otherwise.

    I thought #66- the little boy mimicking the adults in the mosque by bowing was creepy. Child brainwashing people!

    I loved #22- the wee Parisian boy running with a baguette and a huge smile. Did he steal it?

    #25- the woman in the midst of the Japanese tsunami wreckage was incomprehensible.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

      I think the one labelled “sad old man” was a Canadian veteran judging by the maple leaf on his lapel.

  11. John Ottaway
    Posted March 6, 2019 at 3:02 am | Permalink

    No. 9 – WHAT!?!

    No. 11 – I have been that soldier, kneeling at a wall, as a civilian screams abuse and spits in your face

    No. 75 – I have been on both sides of that, as a son watching his father go away and as a father, saying goodbye to my son. The latter is the more painful

    • Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:27 am | Permalink

      I was once working in Belfast while the Troubles were still happening. One night, I was walking back to my hotel from the office when a Land Rover came screaming around the corner on what seemed like two wheels. The back of the Land Rover was one of the ones with open sides and no roof. In the back were standing six squaddies and all of them had their rifles pointed directly at me.

      That wasn’t anything like as scary as the time we had a bomb scare though.

  12. Posted March 6, 2019 at 4:17 am | Permalink

    What a provocative collection!
    Some who knew you only from your list would guess that you were a person who loves cats, music, and is deeply affected by those who lose a husband in conflict. Not so moved by beautiful women, partings, or children.

  13. RPGNo1
    Posted March 6, 2019 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Picture 35
    The girls look happy and they obviously have fun. And they don’t care about the correct fit of their headscarves. 🙂

  14. Posted March 6, 2019 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Somehow I am reminded of the line from _Starman_: “Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are at their worst.”

  15. darrelle
    Posted March 6, 2019 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Christ Jerry, what are you trying to do to me? *sniff*

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