What is this stupid thing???
Well, it certainly is stupid! But more than that, HeyImOnTV.com was kind of a little social experiment...
I like sports and, therefore, I watch a lot of sports on TV. Anyone who has watched a live sporting event in the last 50 years has noticed a random fan in the background “photobombing” the commentators to get his/her face on TV. This has always interested me because I find the practice to be very weird: Seemingly normal, respectable people, adult and children, alike, losing all inhibitions the instant they realize their face is being broadcast to millions of people across the Earth. You’d think people would freeze up and restrain themselves, but 9 out of 10 times, people completely change character and make a weird face with the little time they have in front of the camera.
I don’t know when, but at some point during the 2014-2015 NBA season while watching jackass after jackass force his/her face onto my television screen, I decided to start documenting them. Whenever I saw a photobomber (who I call “bogeys”) pop up on screen, I’d photograph them with my phone. I did this for months and months. I didn’t even know what I was going to do with the hundreds of photos I collected. I just knew it was really fun to do when I was stoned.
As the photos filled up my phone, I developed a little set of “rules” for the project. For starters, every Hey, I’m On TV bogey had to be “trying” to get on TV in one way or another. I’m not just taking photos of funny looking people here. It may not look like it at first, but every photo has someone in the background trying to be on TV. The most important rule came from the composition of the photos. Every Hey, I’m On TV photo has just a bit of the “intended subject” of the original TV shot in the foreground of the photo, with the bogey(s) in the background. This small, but critical framing device made Hey, I’m On TV what it is today.
Because every photo is essentially framed the same way, two key observations quickly come into focus. One, is that all TV commentators look the same. From the crisp suits and clean haircuts to the industry standard headsets, there is very little to distinguish one sports commentator from another, especially when you obscure his/her face. Therefore, when the foreground of every shot is virtually the same, the background stands out that much more. And this is where the beautiful social experiment comes in...
Since its launch, Hey, I’m On TV has become an interesting time capsule of American pop culture. For 365 days starting New Year's Day, 2016, HeyImOnTv.com posted a new photo every day at noon. The project has been retired, but the bogeys never will.
There is something inside all of us that wants to be on TV, in front of millions. And when that moment comes, there is something inside us all that forces us to make some sort of weird face and act like a jackass.