A chilling photograph is doing the rounds of the web. At first glance it appears to be a snapshot of two boys enjoying the surf. A closer look reveals a shadowy figure drifting in the water: a great white shark photobombs the picture and invite himself to the party.
The boys’ mother, June Emerson was taking a picture of her youngsters enjoying the surf, without noticing the terrible threat that lurked a few metres from them. The day could have turned to disaster but the shark moved on without incident.
The mother told the local TV station KTLA that many surfers and lifeguards saw the photo and are convinced that it is a potentially dangerous shark. She added that she told her two children it was a dolphin so they are not afraid to go back into the water because they swim there almost every day.
Experts are divided. Jeff Kurr, who films sharks for the Discovery channel’s Shark Week, told CNN that it was indeed “a juvenile great white shark”. But shark conservationist David Shiffman claims the anatomical details point towards it being a dolphin.
Wikipedia describes the phenomenon as: “Photobombing is the act of accidentally or purposely putting oneself into the view of a photograph, often in order to play a practical joke on the photographer or the subjects.” No-one stopped the great white to explain which one it was but Andrea DenHoed suggests that the photobomb label “implies a narrative of surreptitious sabotage,” although in the sense of unintended and/or initially unnoticed people in the background of spoiled photographs, photobombs have existed for much of the history of photography.
This is definition of Photobomb “to intrude into the background of a photograph without the subject’s knowledge”-Collins English Dictionary. In fact Collins chose it as their word of the year for 2014. Perhaps the most famous ‘bomber’ remains a grey squirrel who popped into view to steal the show from two holidaymakers. The squirrel, unlike the ‘shark photobombs boys’ story, admitted that “he had been waiting for just such an opportunity for years”.