Where did the picture originate?
This image first appeared a few days after 9/11. Many people believed it to be real, the common belief being that the picture was found on a camera in the debris of the WTC. However, this could not be further from the truth. After much speculation, it was found to be an edited picture, or a hoax. You can read all the things wrong with the picture on snopes.com. The original source was indeed the man who appears in the photo, who you can read more about here.
However, the fun was soon to begin. Soon after being widely circulated in emails and web sites (and being
debunked as a hoax), many copycat photos appeared. At first, the copycats
were of other historical tragedies and events in which the man was inserted
into the photograph. Many of these first copycats are very well done,
as more advanced photo manipulators and artists are usually the ones to
have done them. Many of the first pictures came from such sites as Fark.com and Something Awful.
As time passed, more and more copycats appeared, varying in their content,
however always including the tourist's body or face. However, the quality
of the copycats decreased drastically, as increasingly less sophisticated
photograph manipulators began producing them. Now, it is not uncommon
just to see a resizing of the man, with no attempts made to blend with
the background of the photograph he is being inserted into.
Another funny thing started happening, people started giving him names.
Originally, he was referred to as "The WTC tourist" or "The guy on the
roof of WTC", which are not so easily recognizable. People began inventing
their own names such as "Yuri" (perhaps because he looks Russian), and
most recently, "Waldo", from the book series "Where's Waldo?", in which
users are presented with a picture of a scenario and have to find where
a character named "Waldo" lay hidden. (Book
link) Regardless, this last name seems to be sticking, as many of
the new copycats include the name "Waldo" right on them, especially in
the "Movie" variety.
The copycats continue to be created, and as long as they are they will
be added to this site. Phere is no doubt this man has unwittingly been immortalized by becoming
a part of internet folklore. Stories such as this keep the spirit and
intrigue of the internet alive.
Why do people keep making these things?
Simple. Because it's fun! I myself made an attempt of creating an image, however abandoned it after being unable to blend him properly. (Greyhound bus crash, if you must know.) So I made this site instead. The shock-value of the first image inspired the original copycats which were very good and VERY humourous. As a result of those excellent first wave copycats, everyone and their uncle started pumping the things out, having a snowball effect. Now everyone wants to make one and show everyone else. Go ahead, make one! I'll put it here!
Of course there's going to reach a point where the joke gets old (this website validates that its already begun), the supply of images will steadily decline. But thats ok, I know the next stupid internet craze is just around the corner. And hundreds of hoaxers and copycat artists alike are improving their photoshop skills in the meantime...
Why is this site still around?
This site still exists purely as a historical archive of this hoax. All other sites concerning this piece of internet lore are now gone.