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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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On Wednesday, February 16th, I was sitting at home, binge-watching Ina Garten on Youtube when I got a text from my sister Jennifer. Here is the text that changed my life forever:

Hal Rhorer
Hal Rhorer

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:

Hal Rhorer

Okay you all, that thumbnail image for the article is A PICTURE OF ME AT STARBUCKS.

I have no idea when this was taken, who took it, or what I was drinking at Starbucks.

I have no idea when this was taken, who took it, or what I was drinking at Starbucks.

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.

...and what do you know. My face is all over twitter.
Hal Rhorer

...and what do you know. My face is all over twitter.

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.

Whooo. It's all over! Or so I thought...

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).

LITERALLY, WHAT THE HECK IS HAPPENING? My image is featured on a USA Today article about Starbucks? I am in a tailspin.

USA Today / Via usatoday.com

I texted my roommate Chandler about this ridiculous turn of events and she sent me these images.

She responds, "Mark Lennihan took it. Mark making 💵 off you."

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."

In other words, dis boii is not getting any money from this impromptu, unexpected Starbucks photoshoot.

BBC One / Via we.tv

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!

And then, the shizz hit the fan. A Facebook friend sends me a link to a reverse image search engine. I search the photo. I have hit the jackpot.

This photo is being licensed by publishers. And it's a picture of my face. And it feels weird, tbh.
tineye.com

This photo is being licensed by publishers. And it's a picture of my face. And it feels weird, tbh.

Here are all of the articles that I have found so far that have my photo featured in some way:

* USA Today

* Seattle Times

* The Daily Herald

* Chicago Tribune (When shared on facebook or twitter)

* ANOTHER Chicago Tribune Article

* The Wall Street Journal

* AP News

* The Charlotte Observer

* Yahoo News

People are sending me screenshots of my stock-fame.

Hal Rhorer
Hal Rhorer
Hal Rhorer

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.

But still, it feels weird when it's you in the photo.

Netflix / Via youtube.com

I'm still waiting on that tweet from Mark. I want to be his bestie. In the mean time, be warned: YOU TOO COULD BECOME A STOCK PHOTO MODEL.

Oneblink-cj / Getty Images

I'll keep you updated if this story develops.

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