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.
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.
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