Thursday, February 25, 2010

Phoops! (aka Photo-Bombing)

There's a new internet posting craze called photo bombing. Allow me to contrive phoops (photo-oops) or plain foops instead of photo-bombing (well, you know in these days of angst, one can't be too careful using those kind of words..

..specially in airports and other public places).

Some describe it as the fine art of ruining an otherwise happy or serious photo. Plenty of websites around (links below) showing hundreds of phoops.

Even the newspaper I work for has featured a link to a vast collection thus exposing closet clowns (could be you or me, and I wonder about the psychology of it). Some were set up, others accidental or annoyingly spontaneous.

digital cameras today have often a problem called shutter lag. It's when you push the trigger and then there's one or half-a-second delay before the actual shot registers.

In this short but vast window of lag, trust that a comedian shall flash into the frame quicker than a cobra's spit.

Mind you, not only people get involved; even animals! (and obviously it'd be hard to set them up to do strange facial expressions) thus..priceless.

There are times it's the camera guy to blame for his phoops which could easily be rectified by changing the capture angle to exempt the offending party (but sometimes we just get so overwhelmed by the foreground that we forget about the background!)

Of course unlike old SLRs that blurred out the background, the depth of field of today's digital cameras are so good that even so you failed to notice that orang pick his nose high up that distant tree (may call the condition selective blindness) while you focus on a human being prodding a chained sunbear to dance. It's now easier to discern what's fuzzy and not; what's funny and not.

I've also observed that the hilarity of phoops beats the Photoshop-ped ones, a difference between staged and unstaged.

Sometimes a reader is forced to scan a photo to discover the punchline, then breaks into an exhilirating, mental or aural snigger.

Ahh, laughter, it's everyone's Mittel der Wahl.

On the visceral side of things, I often wonder what triggers and launches normal people into projectiles of idiocy and thus "ruin" an intended solemn or happy picture.

Often these guys drift into instant mind games and his/her raison detre hoping that the phoops shall only be seen by friends, oblivious to millions of web photo voyeurs. (but then it's too late for good phoops shall certainly proliferate!:)

Could it be allied to the mental state of a road rager? i.e. when suddenly Mr. Hyde takes over the wheels screaming "Struth, that driver just gave me the finger, huh? Okay ya bast..".. and then Snap!.there's your touristy photo, so sweetly innocent looking, so totally unaware of a toll-free, road-raging bicycle guy hugging the post!

During the age of expensive films, when every Ektachrome frame counts for most paupers like me, it was a rule to diligently plan and make the best out of a single shot;

..and when an intruder becomes part we howl in protest, wanting badly to divide his head with a machete after ruining a nice Mamiya-taken photograph.

The violence fitted the crime!:)

In this digital age we commonly hear "Oh com'on, the funny guy just needed attention, drop the rude digit and take another shot. Omm, I like your Omnia!"

Well aside from the interloper's pernicious intent to earn laugh points, it may also be a hint of jealousy..

..a clue of a cloak-and-dagger relationship, a harmless grandstanding or a moment of insanity ensuing the culprit shall hassle the camera guy to email him a copy of the shot which he'll later post to a social site. A pubescent premeditation completely opposite to that of Ansel Adam's photographic intent (and way before his namesake became a brand for prophylactics).

Pero no importa whatever country you're in, a new humaine - photographique phénomène was born and that probably started after the Daguerreotype and Wet-Plate era were edged out by the smaller and handheld Kodak Brownie and instant-print Polaroid.

Definitely a new age of odd fun has dawned much like aerosol cans giving birth to graffiti tags, digital miles away from the ancient, funereal portrait postures of Grant Wood's American Gothic, .. era when black and white grimace were cheered up by airbrushed colours. Technology shall save (or ruin:) the day!

Ironically the faux pas is also the very reason they get published in the internet;

and thank God it's only for clean fun and never malicious.

Rest assured these animals will jump into every photo opportunity as soon as you drop your guard.

(Okay guys, I know you got plenty of 'em phoops in your hard drive and planning to delete them. Well don't! Dig into your photo archives and send a gem or two to me.

more funny photos here (and where most of these phoops were seen:)