Selfies May Cause More Deaths Than Sharks—but Train Track Instagrams Are Killing People, Too

September 25, 2015

We’ve recently learned that selfies have killed more people this year than shark attacks: Selfie-snappers have been gored during running of the bulls, and tumbled down a staircase at the Taj Mahal, to name a few headline-friendly calamities. In Russia, a public service campaign now warns that “A cool selfie could cost you your life.”Website Insert Passenger Trains Very Well copy

Of course, “cool selfies” themselves don’t kill. Rather, the selfie-takers—distracted, unlucky, self-admiring—are prone to accidents while getting the perfect shot. But all the uproar over lethal selfies has overshadowed another Instagram-assisted phenomenon at the intersection of photography and human recklessness: portrait sessions on train tracks.

 The appeal of train-track photography is unfortunately easy to understand. Tracks evoke grit and danger, and for instant geometrical perspective, it’s hard to beat a set of perfect parallel lines receding to the horizon. But the setting is also, needless to say, risky. A few weeks ago, a 16-year-old boy in Maryland was killed when an Amtrak train struck him during an amateur photo shoot with his girlfriend.

Read the full story from Slate contributor Ruth Graham by clicking here.

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