I didn’t know what a meme was, says Distracted Boyfriend photographer
It has been the ubiquitous social media image of the past couple of weeks and now we are finally learning a bit more about the people behind the “distracted boyfriend” meme photograph.
The stock photo, originally snappily titled “Disloyal Man Walking With His Girlfriend and Looking Amazed at Another Seductive Girl”, is by 45-year-old professional photographer Antonio Guillem from Barcelona.
Guillem has been extremely coy with journalists trying to get in touch, offering the same email response to everyone, and only allowing the models in the picture to be contacted via him, using their stage names of “Laura” and “Mario”.
The photographer says it was the models themselves who first alerted him to the popularity of the image. “I didn’t even know what a meme is until recently,” he said. “The models discovered the meme on social media and they told me about it. None of us could imagine the media repercussion that it has reached right now.”
On Twitter, the photograph taken in mid-2015 in Girona has often been used to provide political commentary.
— n1m (@n1m161) August 19, 2017
Although it has begun to feel like there is no cultural phenomenon that cannot be twisted into the photo’s narrative.
Guillem says he worked closely with the models for some time, which explains why there are a lot of shots of the three of them in different poses. That’s allowed people to be creative on social media about how the story ends.
THE CONCLUSION WEVE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR pic.twitter.com/48f6s5y9KG
— *gun* (@oranforest) August 25, 2017
Or even how it all began.
The trio’s expressions have become so recognisable that there are remixes featuring them out of context that play on other memes.
— gab/apentin? (@gabrielamadej) August 27, 2017
However, Guillem has a warning for people liberally spreading the picture across the net to put their copy of Photoshop down: “It’s not allowed to use any image without purchasing the proper licence in any possible way, so each one of the people that use the images without the licence are doing it illegally. What really worries us and we are not going to allow it, taking the appropriate legal measures, is the use of the images in a pejorative, offensive or any way that can harm the models or me. I’m talking, for example, about the image where their faces are changed by a dog face, a garbage bag, and a dog food bag.”
There’s also the remaining mystery of what happened to the woman in the red dress. “Two of the models and I have a great personal relationship, and the other model, we stopped working together around a year ago,” explained Guillem.
In communication from the photographer to the media, “Mario” is quoted as saying that he would never look at a woman in this way, and “Laura” says: “I think everyone once in their lives has been the girl in the red dress; maybe without being looked at with such brazenness.”
We have heard nothing from the fourth person involved in the image that has become the social media hit of the summer. Maybe she will come forward and spill the beans on why they are no longer all working together.
According to the Know Your Meme site, the first time the picture was posted captioned in the now-familiar way was in January 2017 on Facebook, when it was about Phil Collins turning away from prog rock to embrace pop. It has taken time to build up the current level of popularity.
Still, now that the photograph is being written about by news outlets, and used by publishing brands for obscure jokes about punctuation, its internet shelf-life is surely nearly over.
Source By theguardian.com