The Internet’s Power to Transform a Photograph


Over the years, the internet has become quite notorious for trivialising subjects that should otherwise bare very little significance in our life. Lately though, it seems that the more physically attractive you are, and whether you like it or not, the the internet may turn itself  into your very own personal PR agency. The case in point being the recent internet sensation Jeremy Meeks.

Until his arrest about a week ago in Stockton, California, only a handful of people knew about Jeremy Meeks. There wasn’t anything significant about him, except that he was a repeated offender with a background in gang related crimes and weapons. But then again, there are several people like Jeremy who are arrested everyday for such offences. So how did he get to become so popular?

Jeremy Meeks

Jeremy Meeks

The real drama began to unfold when the police department in Stockton put up a picture of him on their Facebook page. Meeks mugshot with his piercing blue eyes staring right into the camera, and accompanied with his tattoos created a massive frenzy among the internet’s users. A Facebook page too was created for him and received a wave of likes and comments. To the extent where his face was even Photoshopped on the ad work of luxury brands like Calvin Klein, Gucci and Hugo Boss. All of a sudden he became a ‘hot’ sensation because of his bad boy looks. He has also  been offered a USD 30,000 (approx. Rs. 18,00,000) modelling contract with Blaze Models in Los Angeles, United States as reported by TMZ, a popular American celebrity news website.

Unfortunately in the process, what people forgot to grasp that Jeremy is a man with a bad police record. Moreover, the comments have infuriated his wife who thinks that the amount of attention that her husband’s mugshot is receiving has made it all the more difficult for him to be released. Currently, there is a USD 9,00,000 bail amount slapped on Jeremy.

Jeremy's face being Photoshopped on to a Gucci ad.

Jeremy’s face being Photoshopped on to a Gucci ad.

The very fact that an inconsequential mugshot of an unknown man has become the topic of discussion across the world is something that cannot be ignored. It raises important questions like whether the internet has gone too far this time? Whether a mere photograph has brought unnecessary attention to a man who did not even ask for it? Is this fiasco actually spoiling any chance of him of ever leading a normal life, once he is released? And lastly, what gives any of us the right to use a photograph and create an overwhelming personality out of it?

Jeremy Meeks is not the first to be faced by the internet’s undivided attention. In 2010 Meagan McCullough was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. But it wasn’t until 2013 when her mugshot surfaced on Reddit and was converted into the ‘Attractive Convict’ meme. 

This article originally appeared in the June 2014 issue of Better Photography.

Tags: photoshop, POPULAR, june 2014, Jeremy Meeks, Criminal, California, Police, Mugshot, Ads, Perspectives, Opinions