The hilarious and incredible story of how this picture came to be the first online was detailed by Vice yesterday on its Motherboard blog. Essentially what happened was Silvano de Gennaro, an IT developer at CERN laboratory, shot a photo of the four women who were members of “Les Horribles Cernettes,” a comedy band at the institute. He then put together the miserable Photoshop job in an effort to make a promotional picture for the group.
Meanwhile, Tim Berners-Lee, the man who invented the Internet, was in the process of developing a photo uploader to the World Wide Web. He needed a trial photo to put online, and walked over to Gennaro to see if he could use a photo of the Cernettes. He wanted to use a shot of them because he was into cross-dressing (seriously):
But why did the Cernettes become part of history and not, say, a particle accelerator? Partly because Tim Berners-Lee was into crossdressing.
“I don’t know whether I should be telling you this, but he worked at CERN and I saw him because he was part of our pantomime in our amateur operatic society,” remembered Colette Marx-Nielsen, a Cernettes member (she’s second from the right in the photo). “He was the dame dressed as a woman.”
The image successfully went online, and the photo became the first ever uploaded image online. It changed the Internet forever.
So congrats, sorority girls: Your pose will go down in history.
(And if you're interested, go read the rest of the story at Vice.)