Vintage candid photos from NJ

Greg Hatala/For NJ Advance Media

Vintage candid photos from NJ

Whether done inadvertently or intentionally, the photobomb is a real thing. The Merriam-Webster dictionary added the term in 2017, but they’ve been around for quite a while, as we see in some photos in this gallery.

There’s no clear-cut agreement on when the photobomb began, and each year usually brings a new photo to the internet from more than 150 years ago claiming to be the first photobomb.

Photobombing preceded the internet and examples can be found from the Beatles in the 1960s to Prince Harry today. Their popularity seems to show that it is now considered a socially acceptable way to pull a harmless prank on complete strangers or friends.

Apparently, there are even rules for proper photobombing. According to a 2017 article on, some pointers would include adopting Hugh Laurie’s technique: the glitzier the event, the sadder you should look. According to Beyoncé, you get extra points if you’re in the middle of doing a physically demanding job like turning up in a fan’s selfie during your own concert. And then there’s the Bill Murray approach, which suggests you forget the camera altogether and “lifebomb” instead; Murray reportedly runs up to people on the street, hugs them and, before disappearing without a trace, whispers “No one will ever believe you.”

Here’s a gallery of vintage candid photos taken in New Jersey. Click on the links at the end for more galleries. And if you have vintage photos you’d like to see in our slide shows, send them in an email to [email protected].

Courtesy of the Atlantic City Historical Museum

Two lads managed to photobomb this turn-of-the-century picture taken on the Atlantic City Boardwalk.

Courtesy of Priscilla Ridall

Priscilla Ridall was photographing neighborhood children in Paterson in 1954; between poses, she got this relaxed candid.

Courtesy of Lynn O’Connell

The man in the glasses in this 1970s photo taken in Maywood is identified as music teacher Mr. Volpe. The photobomber behind the cash register is unidentified.

Courtesy of Bobby Cole Photo Archives

Two steel workers stand on the New Jersey Bell Telephone Building at 540 Broad St. in Newark in 1928, probably without any safety net. I get dizzy just looking at photos like this.

Courtesy of Carrie Weber Hook

Carrie Weber is at the top of the pyramid with this Lodi High School gym class in 1972 … with an unintentional photobomber in the background.

Courtesy of Albert Bodnar

Which hat should this gent buy at a 1970s sidewalk sale in Newark? The fellow to the right doesn’t seem to like either of them.

Courtesy of Norma Aquilina

A 1960s backyard birthday party in Carteret with a neighbor photobombing the shot in the background.

Courtesy of Tony DiMarco

This family photo was taken in Trenton on Christmas in 1961; dad doesn’t seem too pleased with where he’s been asked to pose.

Courtesy of Anny Anthony

Kind of a reverse photobomb; the fellow on the right in this undated photo from Lyndhurst looks like he can’t wait for people to stop interrupting his street watching with their photography.

Courtesy of Anthony Matola

High school students in Fairview are having fun in this photo from the 1970s.

Courtesy of Anne Grasso

Members of the Grasso family … including one who seems to be camera-shy … are seen in this photo taken in Long Branch in the 1960s.

Courtesy of the NJ Digital Highway

A bit of unintentional photobombing took place in this photo taken in New Jersey in the 1930s. Look in the window on the left.

Courtesy of Andrea Massaro

Sharon Riggins, left, didn’t seem to mind this photo being taken in Vineland in the 1970s; Dawn Siegel, right, might have had a different opinion.

Courtesy of Tom Riggle

Not a photo of David Blaine as a child performing his levitating trick; just a young man caught in mid-jump at Sandy Hook in 1968.

Courtesy of Kathy Franzoi

A counselor is about to take a plunge at the Vineland YMCA day camp in 1954.

Courtesy of Rick Lippincott

Two unidentified members of the Lippincott family caught on film at Long Beach Island in 1981.

Courtesy of the Lanzara family

Members of the Lanzara family are shown in Nutley on Christmas in 1961. It looks as though the little guy finds the jack-in-the-box frightening, not funny.

Courtesy of Henry Bartling

The wind didn’t help this fifth grade field trip photo taken in Glendora in 1961.

Courtesy of Robert Reynolds

Friends having fun in Mountain Lakes; the photo is from 1967.

Courtesy of Brian Kidder

Brian Kidder sent in this photo taken in Plainfield in 1975 of, from left, his sister Bonnie, his cousin Kelly … and himself.

Courtesy of Michelle Pierro

Fort Lee High School promgoers were caught off guard by this candid photo from 1974.

Courtesy of David Pace

This picture taken at the New Providence Public Library in 1973 is an example of what happens when you don’t count to three before taking a group photo.

Courtesy of Robert Friend

Robert Friend identifies the subjects of this photo taken in Landisville as “the pain in the (butt) kids from Irene Avenue in the mid-1980s.” He’s the one to the far right.

Greg Hatala/For NJ Advance Media

Vintage candid photos of folks from NJ

Vintage candid photos from NJ

Vintage NJ candid photos