armchair cultural observation since 1995

A photobomb sensation, five years in the making

The New Yorker charts the sudden rise to fame of the 5-year-old Stingray Photobomb:

Five years ago, when Bourland and her friends sent the stingray photo to Ellen, it might have been a proto-photobomb, from the early days of the photobomb avant-garde, but it wouldn’t have had the resonance that it has today. In the ensuing years, there have been multiple blogs dedicated to the photobomb, celebrity photobombs, photobombing animal forerunners, all of which have contributed to the growing familiarity of the photobomb being called by its name. When it was taken, the photo would have been a funny and unusual picture of three terrified girls and a doofy-looking stingray. Today, the photo can be labelled a photobomb, which implies a narrative of surreptitious sabotage, connects the stingray to a whole tribe of obnoxious pranksters, and makes the ray look like his smile might contain a hint of frat-boyish dissolution. We’ve come so far.

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