Hey Stranger, Thanks for Taking That Pic of Me and My Friends

If the paparazzi doesn’t come to you, find the paparazzi and go to them.

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I’d like to give a shout-out to the stranger who took my picture.

The one who was in the middle of his evening run when his 5k dreams were momentarily paused by two girls who desperately needed their friendship, the sunset, and the sailboat to their left on the Hudson River captured.

The one who was just trying to buy groceries and get home but agreed to photograph me by the bananas. “It’s an inside joke,” I explained.

The one who was on her phone, and the call looked kind of serious, but not serious enough that I felt uncomfortable waving in her face then whispering, “Hey, so sorry, do you mind taking our picture?”

Thanks to the one who kindly suggested I fix my hair.

A huge “thank you” is in order for the stranger who waited patiently while all 10 of us aligned ourselves — tallest in the back, me and Emily doing the camp-counselor-squat in the front; Sara on the right because of her hair-part, Jess on the left with a nice side-turn skinny arm. You took it both vertically and horizontally, and asked if we wanted a flash. We didn’t, and the flash went off anyway, so you took it again. That one came out great. I’ll probably get it framed.

Thank you for resisting the temptation to take a picture of yourself. I know how alluring that is; the little flip button makes it way too easy. And I wouldn’t have minded if you did that…it just would have been a little weird. You are a stranger, after all.

Speaking of which, thanks so much for not stealing my phone.

And thank you for not dropping it, either.

Thank you for nodding when I asked if you “got the whole outfit,” and thanks for not being a dick when I was like, “Actually, could you do it again?

Thank you to the old man who’d perhaps never seen an iPhone before, who thought he was doing a good deed by taking a chance on some sweet girls when instead he was barraged with an impromptu tutorial on how to take a photo with a device that to him might as well have been a rocket ship.

Another thanks to his grandkid who showed up five seconds later. That version was better, mostly because Monica had her eyes open.

I’ve said before that a stranger is a purse you haven’t met yet (“can you hold my keys for a moment while I search for my wallet?”), but you were so much more than that: paparazzi. Friend.

Maybe one day we can be in a picture together. Maybe I’ll post it to my Instagram, and you’ll post it to yours. I’ll make the caption something creative like, “Lol, so random.” You’ll use a nice filter — we could both use a tan.

And then I’ll ask you what your handle is, and I’ll “at” you, and you’ll “at” me. We’ll go our separate ways, then both obsessively check for “likes.”

Someone will inevitably comment “who the eff is that Amelia?”

And I’ll write back: “A friend.”

“Who took it?”

“Some stranger.”

Photoshop wizardry by Krista Lewis, Original images via Glamour UK, Elle Russia, Orla Kiely Spring 2014 & i-D Magazine 

Pictures are worth a thousand words, right? Right. Find out what your profile picture says about you.  You’re also likely to take a few group shots on the beach with your friends, so be sure to check out our Summer Survival Guide!

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  • Mattie Kahn

    Marry me, Amelia Diamond.

  • Amelia, may I? Because of the right mood? (love your post)

    “Here’s your punch” I tell to the British redhead (looking worried and victorious at the same time), upon returning his camera. “I took two photos, just in case.”

    “I sooo wanted to punch that guy!” he tells me again. “I really wanted to punch him!”

    He walks away slowly. How lucky I am not to know anything about music .. .I switch on my camera and prepare to take some beautiful photos of the lovely Sibelius monument myself.

    • Amelia Diamond

      Alcessa!!! Yes you MAY <3

  • A+

  • Damn, this girl knows how to write. Seriously, such a good and funny and real piece.

    When I was in Amsterdam I spent the longest time trying to get the perfect shot for this large group of French girls. Nothing I did they liked, and I took so many vertical shots, horizontal shots, and had them switch positions in relation to the sun. Just when I thought I was done, they had me crouching to take a picture of all of their souvenir socks. I thought using a Danish accent would pardon me from the slave they’d make out of my American Dumbass self, but they just simply thought it was cool I was “from” Copenhagen and proceeded to make requests.

    All of my cheers to the old man who’s taken a photo. If he can hold the phone in his arthritic hands and not die before the photo is captured, then the rest is seriously just extra. <3

    • You know what the problem was, don’t you? 🙂
      (The Danish generally speaking perfect English … No?)

      • Haha! So true….but you know, I figured they’d make me less of “their bitch” if I wasn’t American.

        • As I told you some time ago, we visited the Viking museum in Roskilde – among other things it is also possible to row and sail a Viking boat there, as a member of the “tourist crew” (it is everything you thought it would be right after reading this). So there we were, being taught how to row but not kill each other by a Danish captain with perfect English and having MUCH fun … The kind of fun you have when you are (still) too stupid to do something properly, but since everyone is, it doesn’t matter.
          Later that day we went for a saunter around Roskilde when my husband suddenly greeted somebody. I was stunned: you are officially a tourist, you have just arrived this morning and in the evening, your husband greets a person on the street?
          Well, it was the American couple rowing behind us in the museum and trying not to get killed or die from laughter …

    • Amelia Diamond


  • Loved this post! Ah, the kindness of strangers.


  • Sam


  • olive


  • But that’s where the Go Pro would come in handy, no? Not that you’d want to carry that around, but you’d get a perfect selfie every time 😉

  • Joefox

    Amelia diamond do you have a significant other because if not I volunteer my services forever and ever

  • help me dream

    https://thecotery.com/Silas_Poole_lmUjx/the-history-of-perfumery/extrait-aux-fleurs an amazing collection of tops made from french perfume labels, please support love and share

  • F*, that made my day.

  • Tracy

    I never asked a stranger to take a pic of me but after reading your post I just might do that!


  • Alma

    hahahaha it’s so great! you’re really funny Amelia, love your articles! ,) xx, Alma

  • Alexandra Puffer

    Haha – no shame! Love this post, identifying all over the place.

    Warm Regards,

  • Regina De Luna

    Amelia I love your writing style, its so creative and catchy

    • Amelia Diamond

      thank you Regina De Luna!

  • 🙂

    • Amelia Diamond


  • Gabriela Yareliz


    • Amelia Diamond


  • I love you.

    • Amelia Diamond

      and I you

  • Alexandra

    This is literally poetry. Shakespeare of our time.