Haunted by that photo: One for the album?

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

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

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.

Click here or on the image to view the gallery

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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

    Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

    In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
    Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

    How has your club fared in summer sales?

    Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
    Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

    'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

    Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
    The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

    The best swim shorts for men

    Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
    Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

    Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

    Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup