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How I Accidentally Became A Stock Photo Model

I don't know how this happened, but I like it.

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To clarify what is going on here, my sister has just sent me a screenshot of her Facebook feed. One of her friends has posted a link to an article from The Chicago Tribune. Here is the screenshot:

So I tweeted about it to the Chicago Tribune.

Hey @chicagotribune, why is a picture of me ur thumbnail image for an article about autism? Also, who took this pic?


The next morning, I woke up still very confused about the series of events. Obvi, because I am obsessed with social media, I took to twitter to see if it was poppin' off.

Fast forward eight hours — I am sitting at my desk at work and I get a twitter follow by @chicagotribune, and then I get this mention.

@halrhorer Hi, Hal. Sorry about that photo. We corrected it, and we will make sure it doesn't happen again. Thanks for reaching out.

A friend of a friend who had been following my saga tweeted at me with a link to a USA Today article:

@halrhorer Still famous though. (@gabrielaszewcow introduced me to this wonderful adventure).


Mark Lennihan is an AP Photographer. Each time this photo is licensed, it costs $30-$80. I contacted BuzzFeed's Rights Specialist Adam Colman just in case I could make some money off this new candid modeling gig.

Adam tells me that this situation falls under the idea of Reasonable Expectation of Privacy. He says, "Since you were out in plain view and sitting in the window you didn't have an expectation that you wouldn't be seen."


Okay, so I can't make any money. So as a consolation, I tweet Mark, the photographer, in hopes that he will respond and we will be come besties.

Hey @marklennihan! This random candid photo you took of me is making the rounds and it is making my day. Thank you!


Even though I like to think that I am very special, this isn't the first time that this kind of thing has happened.

This article from Market Watch outlines how one man's prom photo was featured in a segment on John Oliver's show. And then there's this weird NYT article about a young woman's photo being snagged and used in an advertisement for Virgin Mobil.