Unfortunately the digital generation has brought about the demise of overtly ruining a nicey nicey sensible photograph. In the modern age you'll hear the term 'photo bombing' which is the act of covertly invading the background of someone else's posed for photo. But then the problem is they've probably taken 10 versions of the same pose having obsessively and compulsively inspected the camera screen after each attempt and then someone insists an 11th is taken because their mouth looks weird, you know the sort of thing. Because of all this our photographs just aren't as precious anymore, and unfortunately it doesn't really matter if you spoil it or not.
Remember the anticipation in the old days when a roll of film has been finished? The uncertainty of having it developed not knowing whether you've over exposed the whole film, and then the occasion of collecting your prints and finding that little Jonny was pulling a stupid face in that lovely group shot that you were looking forward to getting reprints of and framing for your family and friends. It might be several weeks after you've taken a photo until you discover how it's turned out.
From what I remember the technique for spoiling a group picture goes something like this;
1. Be cooperative and look genuinely interested in having your picture taken.
2. Smile nicely
3. Try not to be the focal point of the scene so to avoid everyone's attention prior to your imminent facial contortion.
4. keep smiling nicely while the picture taker frames the shot
5. Watch, anticipate, and just a fraction before the shutter is pressed pull the stupidest, daftest face you can
6. The moment the camera clicks or flashes you must very quickly resume your original friendly smile
7. Resist the temptation to laugh and then just carry on as normal
8. If you're asked "aahh no, did you pull a silly face?" then you deny it and frown like it's an odd question.
With enough practice the kind of exceptionally brilliant result seen in the exhibit above could be achieved. I recall Rob and me being groaned at by the parents when our sabotage was realised, but as irritating as it may have seemed at the time I believe I have good grounds to defend my younger self and even convince that such behaviour actually improved many a photograph rather than spoil it.
Look again at the photo above, now cover the silly little boy in the bottom left corner with your hand, and look at the picture again...... it's really really dull and boring isn't it? Yes. Now remove your hand again and I think we can all see and agree that at the age of 6 I was a forward thinking maverick genius.