We’ve all been doing it. Even the Queen of England has done it. The inadvertent and more often intentional photobomb, to the plethora of selfies we snap that reside in our mobile phone.
Though the American Dictionary may still be lagging behind, PhotoBomb and Selfie have now been given their due by the Collins English dictionary. In case you are a bit behind the times and have no clue what photobomb or selfie means, do not despair. We all now, without a doubt, can turn to the dictionary for a clear and concise authoritative definition of photobomb and selfie. Who would have known that dictionaries actually choose a “word of the year”. Well its true, and according to a recent article in theguardian, photobomb was chosen as word of the year by the Collins English dictionary, while “overshare” was the choice for the Chambers dictionary (photobomb though was a close second).
All this hoopla affords us a great opportunity to look into the history of the beloved Photobomb and selfie craze.
The first know “Selfie”
Wikipedia credits the first know selfie to an American pioneer of Photography, Robert Cornelius back in 1839. Robert however did not coin the official term (that is believed to be of Australian origin).
The modern “selfie” craze is believed to have begun somewhere in the early 2000’s. Coupled with the popularity of mobile phones and the massive social platforms of facebook and twitter, the craze picked up steam and exploded worldwide by 2012. More recently on March 2nd 2014, at the 86th Academy Awards, Ellen DeGeneres tweeted her now infamous selfie, which received over 2.8 million re-tweets in 24 hours. The age if the selfie craze was officially upon us.
Their is no clear cut historical origin for the Photobomb. It is believed that Photobombing has been occurring since the advent of photography. This is definition of Photobomb “to intrude into the background of a photograph without the subject’s knowledge”-Collins English Dictionary.
Since by definition one can “photobomb” by inadvertently intruding into the background of an image, it opens the door to various interpretations. The example below demonstrates how getting photobombed can be open to interpretation.
Photobombing precedes the internet and examples can be found from the Beetles (pranks they pulled on each other in the 70’s), to today. Popularity however of the “intentional” photobomb is what most of us tend to think of when we hear the term. Though the coining of the term is debatable (Photobomb PhotoBooth has its claim on the origin;), it goes without saying that in today’s world it is considered a socially acceptable way to pull a prank on complete strangers or friends.
Benedict Cumberbatch is one such example of an epic Photobomb on the Red carpet.
Though there may be no substantive origin to the photobomb, it will continue to evolve with technology as the has the selfie. Perhaps one day, photobombs and selfies will be a relic of the past, looked upon fondly as an “old school” technology.