Man About Town: A photobombers guide to glory

Perhaps I could turn gatecrashing photos into some kind of performance art
  • @lukeblackall

With the growth of both cameraphones and the number of people known as celebrities, at some point in the future, everyone will have had their picture taken with a famous person.

I’ve had one or two myself. But this week I appear to have taken things to the next level, specifically, the photobomb.

At The GQ Men of the Year I “appear” in the background of photos of Lifetime Achievement Winner Bobby Charlton and his wife Norma, as they walked into the Royal Opera House. Half an hour later, after briefly meeting and chatting to Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens and Laura Carmichael, I made a quick sidestep while a photographer lined up a shot, but still managed to appear in the photo.

For someone in my line of work it’s an occupational hazard. Go to enough parties where everyone is keen to have their photo taken and you’re sure to show up lurking in the back of a couple of images. And you rarely look good in them either, if you’re not caught by surprise by the flash going off, you find yourself turning your head away from the photographer, as if that will somehow airbrush you out of the frame.

Earlier this year, I appeared on page three of the Daily Mail. As Helen Mirren posed for the cameras on the red carpet at the BAFTAS, I can be seen in the background, as it happens, taking a picture on my phone. I also appeared on the newspaper’s website the same weekend, standing at the bar which provided the backdrop for a shot of Kelly Brook.

I’ve been thinking I could make more of this: perhaps it’s time to turn gatecrashing photographs into performance art. Maybe I could put together an exhibition of photos featuring me loitering behind famous people. The catalogue will say something like “Through photobombing Blackall transgresses established media norms and the received concept of ‘celebrity’; look long enough and the line becomes blurred between precisely who is the photobomber and who is the bombed”.

After all, many contemporary artists have made careers out of less...