Technology is everywhere. Cameras are now ingrained in almost every facet of our lives and our images can appear in the forefront of security systems in stores or end up in the background of a self-taken cell phone photo by someone standing near you. Although some people are irked by the ever-presence of cameras in our society, others have embraced the trend and there have even been some interesting concepts associated with cameras—such as the “tortoise webcam.”
The tortoise webcam, also known as “Franky Cam,” describes the camerawork done by Franky, a 17 year old tortoise that wanders around with a video camera on his back and subsequently records his own view of the world. Franky is the pet of Donnie Cook, the owner of “Lou’s Pet Shop” in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan. The webcam’s feed is transmitted nonstop over the Internet so eons of people can tune in and watch Franky’s day to day activities. Due to this endeavor, Franky has gained fans both nationally and internationally and was even the subject of an article in the New York Times!
In a time when the miniaturization of digital cameras makes it possible to monitor everything and everyone (and share it with the world through Internet platforms like YouTube), most people are concerned about the increasing lack of privacy and feel as if they are always being watched. The recent “spying” scandal by the government sanctioned NSA has only made this feeling of being constantly monitored worse. Yet the story of Franky’s camera is a far more lighthearted look at how cameras can be used to entertain and amuse; kind of like an animal-focused reality show. The cuteness of Franky and the whimsy reality of a camera-welding tortoise has won over the hearts—and attention—of many people. In fact, a family from California sent Donnie $50 to buy Franky lettuce after they were charmed by the tortoise’s filmmaking abilities!
Anyone who likes tortoises, or who is interested in some of the zanier aspects of video camera capabilities, should read the New York Times article below and click on the video link that depicts Franky in action!