Always on the lookout for Richard

@richard_sightings results in minor celebrity status for junior


Ethan Trobridge

The profile picture of @richard_sightings that was taken when the account was set up. Richard said Ethan asked him to cover his eyes for the picture.

Liam Eifert, Managing Editor

Run by sophomore Ethan Trobridge, the @richard_sightings Instagram account chronicles the everyday life of junior Nicholas Busam. It posts pictures and short captions with an attribution to the student who sent it in the picture. 

Busam said, “I’ve been called Richard since my freshman year. I was given that name after I started running with them during track.” The bio for the account reads, “The account for the best junior not named Nick.”

A picture from Oct. 18 depicts Busam looking at his iPad during lunch. Typical for the account, the picture has the pixelated, low quality look of an image taken with zoom on a phone camera. The caption is “Lunch Richard – (Junior) Joey Schmidt.” 

Other pictures show Busam attending soccer games, eating lunch and participating in Math League. He said his favorite picture was from when he was giving blood. He said, “It was from around when I was starting to black out.” That particular picture is attributed to junior Anya Rearick.

The account was set up Aug. 27 while Trobridge was stretching after a run. Trobridge said, “Every time I saw Richard, to embarrass him I guess, I’d act like he was a celebrity. I’d run up to him and be like, ‘Sir, can I shake your hand?’ and take a photo with him and do all this stuff. And then other people from the cross-country team started doing it. And then one day after practice I was like, ‘I’m just going to make a fake fan account.’” 

And then one day after practice I was like, ‘I’m just going to make a fake fan account.’”

— Sophomore Ethan Trobridge

Busam said he has always been aware of the account. He said, “I watched Ethan create it.” 

The “paparazzi” account now has 140 followers. Busam’s personal account has 82 followers. Trobridge said, “It caught on because I started doing a system where each week I would tally up which photo had the most likes and whoever had the most likes I’d post on the story as the winner of that week.” 

Trobridge said, “Of the people that are following the account, I’m pretty sure that I only know 12 of them, that being people in band or on the (cross-country) team, and other than that just random people that found the account and go to our school.” 

Busam said, “I know there’s a few of my middle school friends and some of their parents follow the account and just other people I know from Cathedral.” Busam and Trobridge both mentioned that Busam’s mom now follows the account. Busam said he hopes, however, that his grandmother does not find it. 

Busam said, “I expected it to stay in the (cross-country) team and that’s pretty much it.” With a school-wide reach now, Busam reflected on constantly being in the lens. He said, “It’s very strange. I’m not paranoid about it because it’s not high stakes, it’s just interesting to have so many people interested in taking pictures of me. I did not come into high school thinking I would have a dedicated stalker/fan page and that it would grow so much.” 

He isn’t always aware who captured the image. “I know when it was taken, but if it’s anonymous I usually have no idea who takes it,” he said.

The account portrays Busam going about his day unaware of being watched. Although many pictures still show Busam looking away from the camera, some of the more recent pictures are selfies with Busam or pictures in which Busam stares at the camera. Trobridge said, “In the beginning, the rules were that it must be a picture of Richard where he was not looking at the camera to make it feel more like a paparazzi thing. But since so many people were sending pictures with him looking at the camera (in early October), I made it OK if you sent any photo with him in it, which really blew up the thing because then I got 40 photos in one day.”

Trobridge said, “At the beginning, I would talk to him usually before I posted any photos.” He later added, “But then eventually, (Richard) was like, ‘I really don’t care.’” Busam said, “I know if I wanted a picture taken down, Ethan would be cool with it.” 

Trobridge saw some of the humor in his role as admin of the account. He said, “If you go through my camera roll, I look like a stalker because I have 100 photos of Richard with him not looking at the camera that I haven’t cleared out yet.” 

One of his favorites in his collection is a picture of Busam taken while he was in middle school, uploaded Oct. 14. This is one of Busam’s least favorite pictures. He said, “I think I was in sixth grade. I had braces, sports goggles and a horrible haircut.” Busam commented below the post, “We do not speak of this.”

Trobridge summed up the account’s guiding mission and encouraged others to become fans and/or stalkers or perhaps a little of both. He said, “Follow it. It’s just funny.”