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Blinding Camera Flash
Say "cheese!"

A person uses a camera and takes a photo...and the flash wasn't off. The resulting flash either blinds the unfortunate recipient of said photo or makes him see spots. This can be used as a handy distraction or even as a nasty form of Improvised Weapon. Truth in Television, as anyone who's ever had to take a school photo or have been at an area with a lot of flash photography can attest. Sub-Trope of Blinded by the Light.

Examples:

Film — Animated
  • At the very beginning of Finding Nemo, just right after capturing Nemo, the scuba diver takes a picture of Marlin, the flash stunning Marlin and preventing him from going after his son.
  • Accidentally happens in Hoodwinked when Twitchy takes one of these photos in the Wolf's face. "Would you put that away?! It's covert, no flash!" Twitchy promptly puts the flash bulb away.
  • In Toy Story 2 the toys use flashes to stop Stinky Pete from hurting Woody.

Film — Live Action
  • In I Love Your Work, the main character is a Hollywood actor who gets disoriented whenever walking the red carpet by the flashing bulbs. In the end, there is a callback to this as he makes a stand against a line of cops.
  • In Johnny Dangerously, there's a scene where Johnny gets photographed repeatedly and then promptly walks into the wall he couldn't see anymore.
  • Used in Rear Window as a way to stall a killer.
  • When Kate finds out Gremlins don't like bright lights, she uses a camera flash to keep them at bay until she runs out of film.
  • In The Great Muppet Caper, Gonzo takes a group shot of everyone at the Happiness Hotel, giving everyone bulging eyes.
  • The Jewel Of The Nile. One of the Sufi takes a picture of a guard, then everyone slips by while he's rubbing his eyes.

Literature
  • Discworld:
    • In The Colour of Magic, Bel-Shamharoth is defeated from the flash of Twoflower's iconograph going off.
    • Exaggerated by Otto von Chriek ever since his introduction in The Truth. He's a vampire who loves photography. As a result, whenever he takes a flash photo, it results in his demise until blood is poured on his ashes. He's tried a few solutions, but not using the flash hasn't been one of them.
  • Used as a political dirty trick in "A Bathroom Of Her Own" by Robert A. Heinlein. A political candidate is blinded by an unexpected camera flash, with a second picture being taken a moment later as he tries to recover. The picture from the second camera - showing the candidate looking confused, dazzled and dopey - is then used by his opponents in their attack ads.

Live-Action Television
  • In an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation where the Victim of the Week was a celebrity, Al Robbins, the coroner, caught a paparazzi in the morgue trying to photograph the corpse. He tried to use this to escape...Dr. Robbins was having none of it and tripped him over with his cane before calling security.
  • In the Cheers episode with Woody and Kelly's wedding, Cliff's camera had an ultra-bright flash.
  • Happened in Quantum Leap to Sam when a reporter's flashbulb exploded in his face, temporarily blinding him. Since Sam was currently impersonating a blind person, this saved him from being exposed as a sighted impersonator.
  • Pictured above: in the Monk episode "Mr. Monk and the Bully," when Monk and Natalie follow Roderick Brody's wife to a bar, Monk tries to take a photo with a very old and out-of-date camera. Due to the dim lighting, he installs a flash cube. To take the picture in question, he has Natalie stand a spoon on its end and photographs the reflection. Of course, the result is a flash bright enough that it causes Monk and Natalie, and possibly the audience, to squint their eyes for a few seconds to counteract the sudden brightness.

Music
  • Roger Waters asked his fans not to bring cameras and video recorders to his Athens performance (and at least a few others) of The Wall 2012. The Athens show was being filmed for a DVD release, and the flashes and lights would have completely ruined the projections.

Tabletop Games
  • Paranoia supplement Acute Paranoia, adventure "Me and My Shadow Mark IV". The PCs' mission equipment includes a lightbot named Mikey, who was intended to be a photographer's assistant. If the word "light" is used around him he'll start flashing lights in the unfortunate character's eyes, blinding him.

Theatre
  • In Christopher Durang's play The Actor's Nightmare just before the Show Within a Show starts there's an annoucement that no flash photography is allowed - and then when George comes out there's immediately a bunch of flash photography, blinding him.

Video Games
  • Cameras in NetHack do this to enemies; the Tourist player-class starts the game with one.
  • Toejam And Earl in Panic on Funkotron features Hawaiian Shirted Tourists who use their camera flash as a weapon.
  • The scanner enemies in Half-Life 2 do this if you're looking at them when they photograph you (this is pretty much the only hazard they pose, apart from occasionally giving your position away to a strider).
  • In Fallout 3, your character being blinded by one on his birthdays as a child is used to transition to the next point of your character's childhood/the tutorial.
  • The video game Academy of Champions: Soccer has one character use a weaponized camera flash as a special move that blinds other players.
  • In Eternal Darkness, Peter Jacob (a WWII journalist) has a flash pan with a limited amount of powder which he can use to stun enemies (which is good, since you don't really start off with any particularly powerful weapons in that chapter).
  • This is one of Frank West's moves in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
  • In Super Paper Mario, Francis can use his camera to make the screen go white temporarily. He doesn't try to capitalize on it, so it's purely for the sake of annoyance.

Web Comics

Western Animation
  • This happens in an episode of The BBC's kids' show Kerwhizz, when contestant Ninki is trying out her new camera on her canine companion Pip, much to his annoyance.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy had an entire episode revolving around a camera.
  • Used on The Simpsons as a weapon against crazed robot Itchys and Scratchys at Itchy And Scratchy Land. Flashing them caused their brains to go haywire.
  • In the "school photo" episode of Doug, there's a Running Gag about people being blinded by the camera and wandering around dizzily.
  • In one episode of Wacky Races, Muttley photographs Penelope Pitstop during the race. Penelope is blinded so severely by the flash that she has to stop driving momentarily.
  • Muttley does it again, to Dick Dastardly, in the Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines episode "Lens a Hand".
  • In the Donald Duck cartoon "Grand Canyonscope", Donald asks the ranger to photograph him atop his burro. The flash blinds the burro, leaving him stumbling along the steep Grand Canyon trail.
  • Often used as a Running Gag in Eek! The Cat.
  • This happens to Zach at the beginning of the Adventures from the Book of Virtues episode "Honesty", when he touches his dad's camera and accidentally breaks it.
  • In the Goofy cartoon "How to Play Football", a player is blinded by flashbulbs and fumbles the ball. He only scores because no one else can catch the ball, and he eventually stumbles upon it at the goal line.
  • In Filmation's Ghostbusters, a camera-like device called the Ecto-Strobe sometimes has this effect on ghosts.
  • Happens to Mr. Bogus in the claymation short shown after the second act of the episode "Lights, Camera, Bogus", when attempting to take a picture of himself and checking the camera to find out why it didn't go off earlier.

Real Life
  • On top of museums banning photography (usually flash) to sell their own momentos, there's the problem of this - you're bound to have someone take a flash photography picture every minute or so, dizzying everyone present. There's also the fact that, in the case of precious paintings and other valuable displays, lots and lots of flash photography can wear out colors.
  • It's also the reason why there's no flash photography allowed during plays of any sort.
  • Supposedly what killed Princess Diana - the paparazzi following her blinded the driver with incessant picture taking, causing him to loose control.

Blinded by the LightInjury TropesBlood from the Mouth
Bioluminescence is CoolThis Index GlowsBy the Lights of Their Eyes
MonkImageSource/Live-Action TVBody in a Breadbox

alternative title(s): Blinding Flash
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