Over the weekend, something almost as cyclical as storms themselves began spreading across social media — an old, dramatic image of a green-ish cloud hovering above water. Numerous people attributed the picture to Isaac but, as quickly as the picture spread, even making a brief appearance on Britain’s Daily Mail, people began debunking it. This image seems to pop up every time there’s a big storm — but where did it come from?
Thanks to Tin Eye, a photo-search site, we can see that the picture has illustrated a great many things besides Isaac.
1. A Dream
This storm was used to illustrate a post about a guy’s desert island dream. Scroll to the end for Adriana Lima shots.
2. Spiritual Wordplay
In 2008, Tom Cottar used the image for a blog post on spirituality and anagrams — “Did you ever realize that Britney Spears is an anagram for Presbyterian? Or that Pepsi Cola is an anagram for Episcopal?”
3. Climate Change Denial
A post from 2010 outlined one right-winger’s belief that global warming is hokum.
4. Latvian Weather Roundup
5. Blackberry Device
In Chinese, no less.
6. Scissor Sister Song
7. Baltic Storm
8. Moving from Wisconsin to Michigan
9. Twitter Update
And the original…
10. Brunei Storm
As suspected by eagle-eyed colleague John Herrman, the original photo was apparently taken by a photographer named Richard Seaman, who posted a whole bunch of photos from a trip to Brunei. Reached by email, he confirmed: “Yes, it’s my photo.”
Seaman issues stern take-down warnings for uncredited and uncompensated use of his work but sadly, it seems that the picture was just too good — and too divorced from its source — for the internet not to use over and over again.