Double Exposure (1)

By: Matthew Battles
February 26, 2009

Among the photos making the social-media rounds in the aftermath of the Turkish Airlines crash in Amsterdam yesterday was this haunting image:


It was posted on Twitter by @Serguei with a caption (in French): “It” has returned, in the mist of Amsterdam.” Earlier in the day the picture had appeared in a Tweet by @ankedesign, an artist and blogger in The Hague, with the caption “Oh noes! She was there!”

Who? Where else has she been?

Despite an extensive search, HILOBROW found no other images of this fey creature at disasters. But a social media confrere tells us that the picture is a manifestation of disaster girl.

Others have pointed us to similar scenes:

These images remind me of the Cottingley Fairies, “spirit photographs” made by two English girls in 1917, in which they depicted themselves in the company of little people:


Their photographs convinced Arthur Conan Doyle that fairies were real, waiting for us to believe in them so that they could bring happiness to the modern world. Despite his tireless efforts on their behalf, however, most remained incredulous, and Doyle was widely pilloried as a doddering fool.

Elfbairns, changelings, gnomes, and gremlins: are they among us, wreaking revenge?


This is the first in a series of posts seeking access to the dominant discourse’s secrets via holographic scrutiny of two or more fraught images.

MORE SEMIOSIS at HILOBROW: Towards a Cultural Codex | CODE-X series | DOUBLE EXPOSURE Series | CECI EST UNE PIPE series | Star Wars Semiotics | Icon Game | Meet the Semionauts | Show Me the Molecule | Science Fantasy | Inscribed Upon the Body | The Abductive Method | Enter the Samurai | Semionauts at Work | Roland Barthes | Gilles Deleuze | Félix Guattari | Jacques Lacan | Mikhail Bakhtin | Umberto Eco