Late last summer, I blogged about 3 critters my girlfriend and I had found nearly drowning in a pool filter:
Since then, the story has gotten some exposure:
- The Flickr page has collected 80,000+ pageviews
- The original blog post continues getting about 20,000 unique pageviews a month, mostly links from Oddities, New Age and religious blogs
- It’s become #2 in all-time popularity at this blog, second only to the Mimbo release
- The local newspaper (Daily Progress) interviewed us about it
- Virginia Public Radio came to our house for an interview
- It’s inspired at least one righteously indignant letter
Meanwhile, each week I get a handful of emails from around the world. Many just want to take a moment and say what the image means to them. Like I said in the radio interview, you never know what images are going to have what meaning for what people. Crowds rally around the Virgin Mary when she appears as salsa or salt runoff or a grilled cheese sandwich so everyone has their reasons.
In mid-November, I got an email from a California woman who said she had been especially inspired by the photo. Inspired enough to get it tattooed on her back:
Apparently, she first discovered the photo and backstory in OK! Magazine, one of England’s tabloids. I hadn’t given permission to any magazine, so I started Googling around.
Turns out another British publication, the Daily Telegraph, had also published the photo, initially crediting it to WENN (World Entertainment News Network). WENN is largely known for supplying paparazzi/celebrity photos to the entertainment media.
In fact someone from WENN had contacted me months before, but I’d declined to provide a hi-res photo unless I was told what in what context it would be used. I never got a response, but the photo was taken from Flickr anyway.
The lady at WENN seemed a little startled that I’d contacted their London office directly. She agreed to remove the photo from their database, but offered little in the way of an explanation, apology, or disclosure about how much money was exchanged for the photo. Since then I’ve been told the photo had been scooped up and sold by mistake, and would be removed from WENN’s database. Mistake or no, I suspect this isn’t uncommon at all.
On a more positive note, my girlfriend and I got married over the holidays. Our local baker was strangely thrilled when we asked him to recreate the scene for our wedding cake:
The next morning we removed the animals from the top of the cake and put them in the freezer where they’ll be safe until a much later date.