Haunted by that photo: One for the album?
As Blur star Alex James discovered last week, it only takes 1,000th of a second for a badly chosen photo-opportunity to undo years of careful image control. Tim Walker peruses the gallery of shame
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, is being published in January 2014.
Tuesday 20 September 2011
When you or I are snapped in compromising circumstances – fraternising with an unsuitable friend; canoodling with another man/woman; drinking too many shots, then calling in sick the morning after – we can just "de-tag" from Facebook and be done with it. But for politicians, popstars and public figures, erasing embarrassment is a little more difficult. That meeting with the unsavoury dictator; that silly group photo of your university drinking club – every image is preserved for posterity, and for the amusement of future detractors. Speaking of which, here's a selection.
The pictures we can't show you
Since it was widely published in 2007, the infamous snap of David Cameron, Boris Johnson and their privileged Bullingdon Club contemporaries posing on some Oxford steps has fallen out of use. It has been reported that the owners of the image, the school photographers Gillman and Soame, made a "policy decision" not to allow their pictures to be published following that dubious burst of publicity. George Osborne later featured in his own Buller pictures. It's said by some that Osborne planned to be Prime Minister from a very young age. For someone with such a sure grasp of his own ambitions, the Natalie Rowe episode must count as a major lapse in judgement. The image of the boyish George with his arm around Ms Rowe, a prostitute specialising in BDSM, sitting in front of what looks like Class A drugs, was published by the News of the World in 2005. The editor was Andy Coulson – whom Osborne later recommended for Conservative communications director.
And the pictures we wish existed...
Former News of the World hack Paul McMullan claims he once hid behind a bush somewhere in the Cotswolds, in the vain hope of snapping David Cameron out horse-riding with Rebekah Brooks – the pair, he insists, were once regular riding companions. The PM also ate dinner at Brooks's home over Christmas. Sadly, no seasonal snaps are available. Tony Blair, meanwhile, deftly evaded photographers at the christening of Rupert Murdoch's two youngest children on the banks of the River Jordan, where he acted as godfather to Grace Murdoch. Blair, reportedly clad head to toe in white, was not pictured in the subsequent Hello! magazine piece. Luckily for us, someone later blabbed to Vogue that he'd been present.
TV reviewBroadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair
Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere
TVThe Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 2 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 4 Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
- 5 Stephen Hawking endorses Labour in the General Election
Fast & Furious 7 overtakes Frozen to become 5th highest grossing movie of all time
Poldark, series 1 finale, review: How a costume drama became a Sunday night swoon-fest
Al Pacino admits he was nearly fired from The Godfather and it's still his most 'difficult role'
Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik tops Sunday Times Rich List
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 3, review: Sansa and manhood-lopping torturer Ramsay Bolton - really?
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding