A field guide to 2011 photo fads

From planking to Tebowing, here's an overview of the year in YouTube-fueled stunt-photo crazes, brought to you by a few willing (and limber) MCAD students.

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It started with planking, and now there's a Tebowing epidemic going on. Planking, in case you've managed to remain unaware, is the practice of lying down, board-stiff, in an unexpected place, having someone snap a pic of you, then posting that photo online for the presumable enjoyment of others. It's been around for years at various spots around the world, first known as "the lying down game," but really didn't catch fire in the United States until last year.

"I thought it was kind of dumb," said Carl Thompson, a student at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. "These Internet fads, when one person does it, it's funny. Then everybody does, and it gets kind of annoying."

Since then, planking has spawned a host of variations on a "look at me" theme. The appeal is a mix of being silly for silliness' sake and one-upmanship. Now that he's tried it, Thompson sees things differently.

"It's not about originality," he said. "It's about fun, and connecting people from around the world in a positive way."

Fellow student Olivia Rodriguez thinks the trend will continue "as people constantly try to upstage the last one. It's a way for younger people to get attention and have their moment online."

Planking: Lying down in as stiff and straight a line as possible, ideally in an unexpected place. Pictured here from ground up, are MCAD students Olivia Rodriguez, Carl Thompson and Christian Moser .

Owling: Crouching from a high perch while staring into space (can be hard on the thighs). Owling was the first widespread offshoot of planking. Pictured here is MCAD student Li Zeng.

Horsemanning: A modern revival of an old 1920s photo trick involving two people that makes one look like the head and body have been separated. Pictured here, left to right, are Christian Moser, Molly May, Carl Thompson and Olivia Rodriguez.

Batmanning: Hanging upside down with your feet hooked over a wall or door frame and arms flat against your sides or front, like a sleeping bat. Not recommended for the unfit. Pictured here is Carl Thompson.

Tebowing: Getting down on one knee and pretending to pray like overexposed Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, recently parodied on "SNL." Pictured here is Molly May.

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  • Chris Moser, Molly May, Carl Thompson and Olivia Rodriguez demonstrate horsemanning.

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