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Photo bombers: Coming soon to a picture of you

July 26, 2008 |  3:23 pm

Att00216"Photo bombing" has yet to achieve mainstream attention with a Wikipedia page. Then again, do you really need someone to explain to you what it means? In essence, the goal is to stealthily terrorize a picture by any means possible. Nudity is extremely popular, as are obscene gestures. But that's obvious. The best photo bombers, in my opinion, are more skillful, agile and, above all, brave.

Masterful photo terrorists find the most insidious way to disrupt the composition of a shot and mock the subjects at the same time. (The guy who's photo bombing this shot of the three blond amigos with big egos achieves both. The Caucasian thug below takes a different approach and mocks himself.) has a great gallery of photo bomb pictures -- scroll down to the photo bombing feature. Googling the term brings up the very same shots, so it's a movement in its infancy -- like Dadaism during WWI. (None of the photo bombed pictures on the site I mentioned are X-rated shots, but a few images might offend -- so visit at your ownAtt00249 risk.)

Critics will say that photo bombing hardly constitutes "art intervention," which is the intentional meddling into a preexisting piece of artwork or even an art venue, like a gallery or museum. (The performance artist who took a hammer to Marcel Duchamp's famous urinal -- titled "Fountain" -- in Paris in 2006 and called it his own "art" is a good example of an art interventionist. Same goes for an artist who manages to sneak his work into a museum.)


But I think photo bombing is a genius poke at our society's rampant exhibitionism, fueled by the Internet. Flickr has enabled people to turn the Web into boring photo albums. Or one giant mirror. Hot girls post pictures of themselves and ask commenters to rate their assets. Pictures from weddings, family reunions and proms are uploaded without any artistic censorship. No shot is left behind, alas.

Vive les photo bombers!