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How Zeddie became a 'Ridiculously Photogenic Guy'

Stephanie Gardiner -Apr 12, 2012

Zeddie Watkins Little ... he has become Jesus-like on the internet.

Zeddie Watkins Little ... he has become Jesus-like on the internet.

Zeddie Little was running a 10 kilometre race in his hometown, when he turned to smile and wave at a friend.

That innocuous gesture was photographed and unexpectedly transformed him into the latest internet celebrity: "Ridiculously Photogenic Guy".

It all started when photographer Will King posted pictures of the Cooper River Bridge Run, held in Charleston, South Carolina, USA, to his Flickr page and shared them on Reddit at the end of March.

The photograph of Mr Little eventually went viral, inspired a hugely popular Facebook fan page, Twitter followers, parody photos and more than one million views of the original photograph.

The 25-year-old New Yorker, who goes by his middle name Watkins, said the whole thing was a fluke.

"We kind of just figured it out. I was running and waving at a friend that was on the sidelines and I turned around and I guess I caught a camera lens," Mr Little told Good Morning America overnight.

"And that's history."

Mr King said he was looking for his friends running in the race when he took the photo.

"I had a few dozen friends in the race, but I couldn't find them.

"But I found Zeddie there and he just takes a really good picture.

"He was ... just looking straight at the camera, smiling, the sun was hitting his hair as it was flowing the wind.

"Just an all around photogenic guy."

Rachel Robbins, who studies face and object recognition at the University of Western Sydney's school of social sciences and psychology, said people were naturally drawn to smiling faces and direct gazes.

"The bit about him being photogenic is probably less likely to make him pop out, because it turns out the faces that we think are most attractive are usually faces that are actually closer to a mathematical average of all the faces we've seen.

"So they're actually less distinctive faces and they're actually less likely to pop out of a crowd.

"He seems like he is quite attractive in having regular symmetrical features, so that probably is why we would say he is photogenic.

"But the reason that he stands out for us first is probably not that he's photogenic, it's probably that he's smiling and looking at us."

Herald photographer Peter Rae said a direct gaze was an important feature of a striking image.

"People who are photogenic can get a certain emotion across," Rae said.

"It's generally people who are relaxed with the camera.

"I guess he looks like he's the modern Tom Cruise who girls would like to bring back to their mum's for a lamb roast."

Mr Little said he thought his internet stardom was great and was planning to run in the New York marathon to raise money for aortic disease.

"I kind of feel honoured to be part of a joke that's in good spirits because sometimes the internet can be a little vicious or jokes can get bent the wrong way.

"These are all, for the most part, positive and it's funny that everybody's taken ... to it.

"It's I guess the most flattering way to get spread across the internet."

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