L’Observateur : The Thom Yorke Photobomb Incident

The funny thing about the Thom Yorke Photobomb is that Thom Yorke did not actually Photobomb me. A Photobomb is when someone intentionally screws up or “bombs” your picture from behind. As this article from Yahoo! France points out, a common example of a Photobombing would be when you make rabbit ears on another person’s head.

What actually happened is this: A little over three years ago we were at the Louvre taking advantage of reduced-priced-entry Friday night, and when we walked into the room where La Joconde hangs, I saw Yorke standing with a person I presume to be his wife. Awestruck, having just moved to Paris a month prior, I hurriedly staged a photo of Elli with him in the background. As I was shooting, he turned, and in one of the frames he appears as if he’s jauntily staring into the camera. Photobomb? Not so much. He never even saw me.

So, how did The Thom Yorke (Not) Photobomb go viral? As far as I can tell, on Saturday, November 6 someone calling themselves “The Game” or “Ricky” took the three-year-old image off my blog, photoshopped many more Thom Yorkes into it, and posted it on a viral media web site called BuzzFeed in an effort to get enough “viral hits” to win an iPad, and set of a chain of events where by Monday the image was in Rolling Stone’s Random Notes (below) and also on Stereogum, Blender, NPR, The Daily Swarm, The Daily What, and the aforementioned Yahoo! article explaining the concept of a Photobomb to a twittering and expectant French populace.

Here are some of the more interesting comments from some of these pages, including the internet style police who critiqued Elli’s footwear, which she defiantly defended:

Her shoes are a tragedy... just saying!

She's wearing clogs!!! ...wait, what are we looking for again?

Bitch looks like my evil ex maybe she can pay me the 100k she stole from me?

I saw the guy photobombing, then I googled his name. Then I thought "Oh neat, this girl got photobombed by a celebrity." I closed the tab and came to the comments. I read yours and had to go back to find out that I'm retarded.

Everything in it's right place. best. photo. ever.

This is amazing. I feel a little bad for him but it's just so hilarious.

Wow. He only blinks with one eye? Freaky. Did he suffer a stroke or something?

She's ultra cute!

Then the Farkers got ahold of it:
Going viral on the internet can really help your career – if what goes viral is what you want to go viral on the right sites. Again, not so much. (Ask Jack Rebney.)

The Stats: In the month before the initial post on BuzzFeed, according to Google Analytics (which I have deduced only catches about 75% of all traffic), I got something like 750 hits. In that month, a few people posted comments and I sold another copy of my photo book. In the week after the initial post on BuzzFeed, I got 9,467 hits on this blog (front page views totaled 1,032). One person left a comment (to tell me I had been Farked) and no one purchased the book.

Here’s what a virus looks like on Google Analytics:
Looking back on the original incident, the strangest thing was that as far as I could tell, not one other person in the entire museum recognized him, and my only regret is that when we saw him again later that night sitting alone on a bench by the toilets waiting for his wife, I wish I would have offered him some money for that “pay what you want” download of In Rainbows that I never paid what I wanted for.

Last night, as we were getting off the Eurostar at Gare du Nord, we saw Pete Doherty standing there. We kept walking.

1 comment:

  1. Reading this again, I'm reminded that you were still formulating an opinion on In Rainbows the last time I saw you. Damn dude, long time..