The noodle dog: From glitch to photo technique

Let’s talk about noodle dogs. Like the Long Horse of lore, it’s a centipede-like creature, or if you want to remain intra-species, a longer Dachshund. It comes via a panoramic glitch that unnaturally elongates the subject.

With the introduction of new digital hardware or software comes inevitable glitches—often inadvertent, sometimes purposeful corruptions of its original intended use. Digital image glitches are currently the most prevalent, probably because social media is pretty much built for sharing such images, and the glitches prominently distinguish themselves from the noise.

Since panorama photo software has become more prevalent (it was introduced as a feature by Apple on iOS 6 in 2012, though unofficial panorama apps existed much earlier), there’s been a proliferation of panorama “fails.” You’ve probably encountered a list at some point. There are a lot of them, their headlines running the gamut of internet listicle hyperbole—they are “awkward,” “terrifying,” and “ridiculous.” There’s even a Twitter account that collects them, @PanoramaFails.

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Reddit

Panorama glitches are now common enough that one could call into question whether they are still technically glitches. Rosa Menkman gets at this in her Glitch Studies Manifesto, “Once the glitch is understood as an alternative way of representation or a new language, its tipping point has passed and the essence of its glitch-being is vanished.”

In other words, a glitch stops being an error, and becomes a popularly accepted artistic technique (like, say, amplifier distortion), unintentionally defines a medium (like VHS static/warbling), and/or becomes a stale norm and gradually fades away, as what made it meaningful hinged on an implied serendipity (like autocorrect errors).

Of course, this is just semantics and a bit wonky, and some people would maintain that technically, so long as the images or whatever else corrupt the intended use of the device/software, it remains a glitch, to which others might respond by saying, “just show me some more god damn pictures of noodle dogs, none of this ducking matters,” before cursing their autocorrect.

But okay, sheesh, here’s another noodle dog.

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Unlooker

Obviously the glitch isn’t limited to dogs—though they seem to be the most common subjects. My theory is that dogs—with their average walking/running speed relative to the average speed of a user taking a panorama—better lend themselves to accidental noodlification.

But there are also noodle cats.

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Heavy

And noodle goats.

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@PanoramaFails

And, unless this is a case of science going too far, noodle babies.

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Michael Bradley

The horror.

So how should we classify these noodle dog glitches, now that they’re relatively commonplace? It seems like the practice of elongating something via panorama—I want to call it “noodling” but I’ve also seen it casually referred to as “stretching”—is gradually becoming a popular technique. There are more and more images making creative use of it. For example, this teen punching his friend.

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And this giant man.

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@PanoramaFails

This is just my (very naive) hope, at least, as noodled images are so endlessly enjoyable. It’s of course still too early in the lifespan of this glitch/technique to know for sure. But one can dream.

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Apple Support

Noodle on, boy! Noodle on.

Main image: Reddit