May 30, 2023

The Case for Leaving Strangers in Your Family Photos

Google recently introduced what I believe is a revolutionary feature: Magic Eraser. However, it is powerful enough to cause some questionable “damage” to older family photographs.

Sometimes things get in the way of the perfect photo — like an accidental photobomb or power lines you didn’t notice. They can distract from the photo, pulling attention from what you were really trying to capture. 

Removing distractions from photos isn’t an impossible task, but it typically requires sophisticated editing tools, know-how and time.

However, Google has released software that automates the task, called Magic Eraser. It helps you remove those distractions in just a few taps right in Google Photos. And you’re not limited to newly captured photos — you can clean up all your photos, even those taken years ago and laster saved as digital images. 

Magic Eraser can detect distractions in your photos, like people in the background, power lines and power poles, and suggest what you might want to remove. Then, you can choose whether to erase them all at once or tap to remove them one by one.

HOWEVER, Rebecca Onion has published an article that suggests you should use this new-found power with great caution. She uses photographs taken in the 1980s (long before digital photos came on the scene) to illustrate her concerns.

Rebecca writes, “People’s relationship to photographs, and to strangers, is not the same as it was when I was young. Because we have smartphones, and thousands of jpegs taken at each individual event to pick from, why wouldn’t we pick the frames with no randos in them for our albums, before even considering Magic Eraser?”

I am not sure I agree with Rebecca Onion’s views but her comments will make me pause and consider her comments before deleting the images of people who “photobombed” my older photos. 

You can read her article at: