The origins of the distracted boyfriend meme have been revealed

Kate Plummer
Wednesday 19 May 2021 16:23
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The photographer behind the distracted boyfriend meme has spoken about its origins.

Spanish photographer Antonio Guillem – who makes stock photos used by companies featuring the three models that appear in the meme – told Wired he took the photo in Gerona, Catalonia in 2015 as a bit of an experiment.

“We decided to take a few risks, planning a session representing the infidelity concept in relationships in a playful and fun way,” he said.

But it was difficult to get the shot because one of the models couldn’t stop laughing, he said.

“It was quite challenging to achieve face expressions that were believable mainly because we always have a really great work atmosphere, and almost all the time one of the models was laughing while we were trying to take the picture,” he said.

Guillem said he took dozens of shots came around the theme of infidelity, including one in which the man proposes to his girlfriend while looking at another girl and another series in which the two women ditch the disloyal man and marry each other instead. But while it soared in popularity, Guillem told Wired he didn’t even know what a meme is (putting him in good company with Jackie Weaver, incidentally).

“I never thought that one of my images will be that popular,” he said.

“I didn’t even know what a meme is until recently, when the models started to tell me about the memes that people were doing with our work.”

The first recorded use of the image being edited for a meme was in late January 2017, when a poster in a Turkish prog rock Facebook fan group labelled the man Phil Collins, his girlfriend Prog and the woman walking by Pop, according to Lad Bible.

If you have logged onto the internet just once, we are sure you have seen it too but in case you have been as distracted as the man in the photo, here are a few examples of it in action:

So there you have it. Answers to your most burning questions.

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