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    'Distracted Boyfriend:' The Origin of a Meme That Took Internet by Storm

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    “A disloyal man walking with his girlfriend and glances at another seductive girl.” This is the description of a stock photo, which has turned out to be a perfect basis for countless memes. However, the photographer behind this image hasn’t earned a penny on these “online remakes.”

    Sometimes stock photos, which are snapped for various creative and professional needs, find their way into "memeland," just like this dramatic shot. The picture of a man, walking with his girlfriend while his head is turned in another direction because he is checking out another lady passing them by, has become a widespread meme.

    ​This is the "distracted boyfriend" stock photo, which accidentally launched thousands of memes that literally flood every social network.

    The image that has gone viral since January, was actually photographed two years ago. Antonio Guillem, a 45-year-old photographer from Barcelona, Spain, who works for stock image companies, snapped this emotional picture on the streets of Gerona using three models he consistently cooperates with.

    ​According to the photographer, the session aimed to represent the infidelity concept in relationships in a playful and fun way. "It was quite challenging to achieve face expressions that were believable," Guillem told Wired. "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 was very surprised that one of his stock images received the meme treatment and became so popular. "I didn't even know what a meme was until recently, when the models started to tell me about the memes that people were doing with our work," Guillem admitted.

    ​However, memes haven't given him or his company any kind of economic profit. "Most of the images haven't been sold on the microstock agencies. They are being used without the proper license on those agencies," he revealed.

    By the way, other images of that series, where all of the three models can be seen in different poses, also found their way to the social networks, allowing people to be creative about how the story of the distracted boyfriend could end.

    Or even how it all began.


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