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"Ridiculously Photogenic Guy" is a bit of an anomaly among Internet memes. It's not about cats, it's not a rickroll, it's not an epic fail or an epic win, and it doesn't feature an adorable animal with something balanced on its head. In fact, Ridiculously Photogenic Guy is just a photo of a rather carefree-looking dude who's in the middle of a 10k run—and it's gone insanely viral, despite the fact that he's not 1) pooping his pants or 2) legbombing the camera.
In fact, you could say that the most interesting thing about Ridiculously Photogenic Guy is the fact that he became an Internet sensation at all.
The popular photo is of 25-year-old New York resident Zeddie Little. On March 31, Little took part in the Cooper River Bridge 10k run, which was held in Charleston, South Carolina, and at some point during the race an amateur photographer named Will King randomly snapped his picture. King first posted the image on his Flickr account, and eventually decided to share it on Reddit:
One of my friends commented on the picture and said something along the lines of 'I dub this guy Mr. Ridiculously Photogenic.' I thought it was a pretty cool comment, so I posted it on Reddit. For some reason it just took off from there.
"Took off" is a bit of an understatement: almost instantly, the picture racked up millions of hits on Google and other sites.
Naturally, the real attraction of the photo meme is the much-loved tradition of users adding their own text to the image. Ridiculously Photogenic Guy has spawned a ton of altered versions of the original photo, with commentary like, "Goes For Run: Inadvertently Teaches World How To Spell "Ridiculously," "Photobombs Wedding Picture: Nobody Minds," and "Picture Gets Put Up As Employee Of The Month: For A Company That He Doesn't Work For."
Here's a look at Ridiculously Photogenic Guy in action:
As for why the image went viral in the first place, well, it's anyone's guess. Maybe it's that the photo really is sort of amusing, what with his remarkably refreshed appearance in the middle of a race and all. Maybe it's that every meme has a sort of tipping point, where regardless of the original appeal, it becomes popular simply because people like to be in on a social trend. Maybe it's in an uncertain times, Mr. Little's beaming smile gives us hope that it's all gonna be okay.
Or maybe it just proves that if there's one thing you can predict about Internet sensations, it's that they're largely unpredictable. Run on, Ridiculously Photogenic Guy.
Have you seen this particular meme? What do you think the appeal is?
Image via Know Your Meme