Life In The Panopticon: Tales From Victims Of The Northeastern University Instagram Account

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Artist's rendition of an elusive Northeastern photographer (Pic Creds: Jo)

Whether it’s taking snapping candids of students on the quad, sharing serene photos of autumn foliage, or promoting the expansion of an oppressive surveillance regime, the Northeastern photography team works around the clock to keep us updated on all of the happenings around campus. 

One of the greatest parts of Northeastern’s social media presence is how excited students are to see themselves unexpectedly featured on the school’s official (though not verified) Instagram account. All of Northeastern’s hired photographers have been specially trained in stealth photography and Brazilian jiu jitsu, ensuring that they remain out of sight while they work their magic. 

We reached out to freshman Claire Clairen, who has been posted on the account over five times in the past month. “I have no idea when they took this photo,” she stammered, showing us the most recent image of her walking to class. “You can see it in the frame, you can see they took this from behind a tree,” she said, pointing out the blurred leaves in the foreground of the image. 

“Maybe it’s a coincidence,” Clairen continued, “But they just posted a slideshow, and it’s photos of the rooms I have class in. They’re even in the order of my schedule. This is a photo of me eating lunch at Curry. Is that weird? Should I be concerned?”  

“This is literally my home address,” claimed a mechanical engineering student who opted to stay anonymous. “They just posted a photo of a sticky note with my address and my full legal name on it.” He showed us the image in question, a photo of a sticky note with “Adam Lowell, 210 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 0211” scribbled on it. 

The Husky Husky also got the chance to interview with second year John Johnson, who was recently featured in a post on the Northeastern account about his dorm decorations. “I-I don’t know how they got into my apartment,” he said shakily into our microphone, “I woke up one day and my windows were smashed in.” 

When we reached out to the Northeastern photography team to comment, they replied, “Well, it sounds like he does know how we got in!” 

The next few slides of the post seemed like typical photos of the koi pond behind Curry, but keen eyes were quick to notice Johnson’s reflection in the water.

We decided to ask the photographers some more questions about their technique, particularly the biggest difficulty they face for their job. “Well, the hardest part has to be touching up the final photos,” said an anonymous photographer, “When we take pictures from behind bushes, we used to edit out all the leaves that got in the frame. But we’ve recently started leaving them in as an endearing reminder that we are always watching. We are always lurking somewhere. You are not immune to us.” 


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