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Photo Bombers and the Moments They Ruin
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Photo Bombers and the Moments They Ruin

In thinking of photographs, one word that comes to mind is personalization. Each photo is a representation of the subjects in the frame, and no photo is like any other. So why would anyone want to interfere and disrupt that moment you ask? One reason is to get a reaction, and this act has more recently been dubbed as “photobombing.” This is where a person either means to or accidentally appears in a photo they weren’t originally supposed to be in. This act of sabotage can be in anything from a selfie to a professional photo. But if you plant yourself intentionally or unintentionally into a photo not meant for you, then you are a photo bomber! Here we will explore many types of photo bombers and the impact they have on the moments they interfered with.

The origin of photo bombing stems back to 1853, where the first rumored instance of a photobombing occurred. While two women were being photographed, an unknown photo bombing suspect stuck his head in, but was never meant to be in the photo in the first place. The odd thing though is that back then, it took a long time to take a picture, so the planning must have been either accidental, or meticulously and deviously planned. But back then, it took longer to notice since development wasn’t instant, so the joke sat unappreciated for quite some time. The photo lives on forever though!

A photo being pranked or “bombed,” does not always have to be a bad thing. A recent story was in the news where a couple in Ohio spotted famous comedian Dave Chappelle while they were out at a brewery, and they asked Chappelle if they could take a photo with him. He turned them down but stayed to chat with them anyway. After he parted ways, the couple stayed and had some photos taken together, absent of The Chappelle Show’s creator, or so they thought. As they were taking their photos, Chappelle puled a fast one and photobombed them!

Photobombing can also be where someone crashes your photoshoot and becomes a part of it.  This happened also to a couple, right here in Charleston, SC.  As their photographer was shooting their engagement photos in Charleston’s beautiful historic downtown, they were all surprised when they saw actor Bill Murray stand behind them, making silly gestures. The photographer asked Murray if he would be willing to stay around and pose, and he surprisingly agreed, leaving them with photos that instantly went viral.

Photobombing can work the other way with celebrities too, where your average person will be the photo bomber, and the famous person is the victim! Recently a Grandmother was in New York City for her daughter’s birthday and was inside the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel. It just so happened, that International superstars Beyoncé and Jay Z were at the very same hotel and walked past her.  Her reaction was priceless, and of course it was caught by a photo since those are two celebrities that always have cameras following them around. This one photo suddenly rushed this woman into the spotlight, and she got just as much attention as the stars.

Another instance requires the viewer to suspend some disbelief, and it’s when ghosts or apparitions work their way into our photos without us knowing. Whether you believe in them or are skeptical of the authenticity of the photos, the idea is still incredibly eerie. Take this recent example of a teenager in Georgia that took a selfie with her Dad in the background. The subject on the far right is someone the girl and her father both swear up and down could not have been there. But who was it then? Could it be an object that looks like a person, a Photoshop trick, or maybe it really was a real ghost. This “real or fake” photo is not alone, there are dozens of photos people post with possible supernatural sightings caught on camera. In a place as haunted as Charleston, SC is, you might be photobombed by a spirit the next time you take a selfie.

There are also many occasions ruined forever by an intentional or accidental photo bomber, and unfortunately it may not be possible for the moment to happen over again. This can range from proposals, family reunions, and poses in front of landmarks in foreign lands you may never get to visit again. Sometimes the bomber just walks into a precious shot, but most of the time the one who steals the moment is a person trying to be funny and commonly makes a lewd gesture or pose. They may get their viral moment, but your memory is sadly not captured on camera the way it should have been.

Love or hate them, photo bombers have become a part of our picture taking society. With how quick you can take a photo and the volume of them, you’re bound to either accidentally wind up in someone else’s photo, or have a prankster jump into yours and ruin it.