18 of the most viral photos to sweep the internet

Thanks to smartphones, everyone can now try their hand at photography and upload shots that pepper the internet.  And every now and then a photo goes viral - an incredible moment is captured, the snap tells a fascinating story, the image is awesome. The next thing you know, your photo is being shared at breakneck speed across social networks - and may even make it into newspapers and magazines!

Here's a selection of 18 photos that took the internet by storm - and there are plenty that don't feature household names!

1. One very sexy felon

© AP/FOTOLINK/East News  

Seeing the media coverage he's had, you probably know that this blue-eyed boy's no angel! From jail to the arms of a rich heiress, when the Stockton cops posted Jeremy Meeks's photo on Facebook, they didn't get the reaction they expected.  Women went wild and Meeks was subsequently offered a modeling contract before he'd even been set free!

2. Selfie where Tom Hanks poses with newlyweds

Tom Hanks was jogging in Central Park when he stumbled upon two newlyweds having their photo taken. After congratulating them, he then posed for some shots with them... An awesome way to immortalize a marriage!

3. The Ellen DeGeneres selfie at the Oscars

© Aaron P/bauergriffin.com/East News  

Lovely Ellen stole the show when she presented the Oscars!  She managed to wangle a star-studded selfie, taken by Bradley Cooper. Selfies had already started to plague the internet, but this one beats them all! An impromptu snap of an A-list presenter surrounded by equally famous faces!

4. Leonardo DiCaprio and his Oscar

© Mario Anzuoni/reuters.com  

We're not sure if the middle finger was deliberate or not, but the way Leonardo held his 'Leading Actor' envelope certainly got the attention of surfers, even if people watching the awards ceremony didn't catch on!

5. Grumpy cat

© Darla Khazei, PacificCoastNews/EAST NEWS  

This kitty is adorable, but can't help her naturally grumpy expression. Grumpy Cat went viral in 2013 and her photo even won a 'best photo' award.  By the end of 2014, she'd earned her owners the tidy sum of $100m!!

6. Barack and Michelle Obama: true love


Two difficult terms in the White House only brought them closer together, as witnessed by the hundreds of photos taking during Obama's 8 years in office.  This one perfectly sums up the love they share - something that no doubt helped this amazing couple to deal with the toughest of times!

7. Gisele Bundchen, a multi-tasking mom!

Okay, so Gisele Bundchen probably has an army of assistants to cater for her every need, but there are some things only a mom can do.  As this photo shows, even if you're a working mom, babies still need feeding and Gisele clearly knows how to multi-task!

8. Rihanna at the Met Gala


Rihanna loves being the center of attention, but we bet she never imagined the furor this yellow dress would cause at the 2015 Met Gala. The event is admittedly called the 'Costume Institute Gala', but to have her dress compared to a pizza, omelet and SpongeBob SquarePants must have stung her fragile ego...

9. Guess the color

© swiked/tumblr.com  

If any dress has caused controversy, it's this one! Why?  Because people couldn't decide if it was gold and white or black and blue. Whilst the internet went into optical illusion meltdown, the retailer of the dress confirmed that it was in fact black and blue. What's more, this dress wasn't even worn by a celebrity, but first appeared as a slightly washed out photo posted on Tumblr.

10. Beyoncé and her Super Bowl 2013 photos


Celebrities are photographed so often that it's not hard to find less flattering shots.  Beyoncé, however, got put through the mill thanks to photos taken of her 2013 Super Bowl performance - to the point where her PR team tried their best to bury the snaps. Known for being a perfectionist, the singer was so concentrated on getting the choreography right that she didn't pay attention to her grimacing face.  Unfortunately for her the press did and the next day newspapers and social networks were plastered with pictures of a gurning Bee.

11. Beyoncé and her twins

This was the most eagerly awaited shot of 2017: Beyoncé's twins. We saw plenty of pictures of her growing bump, notably her pre-birth photo shoot, where she echoed Old Masters' paintings of Venus and the Virgin Mary, so it was only normal that fans were clamoring to see the latest additions to her family. The first official photo of Sir and Rumi was finally released a month after Queen B gave birth.

12. Kim Kardashian and her Paper magazine cover

© FaceToFace/REPORTER/East News  

The least publicity-shy family in the world once again sent the internet spinning out of control (yawn) with yet another shot of Kim's very ample posterior.

13. Kendall Jenner and her hair

A classier Kardashian photo also went viral, getting 3.5 million 'Likes' in the process.  This time it was professional model Kendall Jenner, dressed in lace, lying on a carpet with her hair artistically shaped into hearts - her idea, apparently, and one that paid off!

14. Darth Vader in the snow

You can imagine the surprise of residents in Wejherowo, Poland, when they woke up to find that the statue of their founder, Jakub Weiher, had morphed into Darth Vader... This seemingly happens every time it snows! 

15. Miley Cyrus's tongue


You could write a book about Miley and her tongue, seeing as she sticks it out so often. That said, Miley Cyrus certainly knows how to get attention, although tongue-wise the backlash was somewhat negative.

16. A disappointed McKayla Maroney

© imago sportfotodienst/EAST NEWS  

This extremely talented young gymnast deserved to be very proud of herself, seeing as the 'Fierce Five' won so many golds at the London 2012 Olympics. However, settling for a silver for the vault clearly left her feeling glum...

17. Salt Bae

In 8 months, Nusret Gokce found internet stardom simply because he published a video of him cooking a steak. Why such a buzz?  It was partly how he prepared his steak, but mostly the flamboyant way he sprinkled it with salt! This sensual chef set hearts aflutter, earning him the nickname 'Salt Bae' in the process.

18. Follow me

Murad Osmann and his partner Natalia didn't expect to set the internet on fire with their series of travel photos.  The concept took off thanks to photos taken by Murad, where Natalia holds his hand as if it to lead him elsewhere. The first shots were designed to point out a beautiful landscape, but the project has since taken on huge proportions.  The downside for this inventive couple is that numerous memes and parodies have appeared - admittedly some are hilarious, but others suggest a certain jealousy towards this globe-trotting pair.

Photo credits: FaceToFace/REPORTER/East News, FaceToFace/REPORTER