They were the shots seen round the world.
Duncan photographer Masika Allan’s fun pictures of a male friend posing in his underwear for his wife’s birthday gift caused a social media tsunami in January 2016.
And the excitement is continuing even today, with a special calendar and fans from around the globe adding their own pictures to the fun.
The Masika May Photography Facebook site was besieged with requests for interviews and possible jobs, first from Canada and the United States but then from farther afield.
“This morning I woke up and I’d gotten three enquiries from places in Brazil and in the UK because it’s starting to gain ground over there,” Allan said Jan. 26.
“The story’s pretty well gone everywhere now. Updated Facebook figures show that 7.9 million people have been reached and there are 9,000 comments on it and 15,000 likes.”
But, what was it all about?
Someone had apparently complained to Facebook about a particular group of Allan’s photographs and the rest is history.
Allan is known for known for her tasteful “boudoir” pictures of women but January’s furore was about shots of a Langford man, Brendon Williams.
“We took them all the way back at the beginning of December  but we had to keep them a secret because he was giving them to his wife for her birthday, Jan. 19.”
He gave his wife the gift and then suggested that Allan should put them up [on her Masika May Facebook page] for his friends to see and share the laugh.
“Brendon’s such a jokester and always loves to make us all laugh. I thought: I’ll put them up. I expected to get a couple of laughs out of it but within 10 minutes, 55 people had shared it. I thought: ‘Oh, my gosh, what is happening here?’ It went kind of viral.”
She first put them up about 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 19.
“When I woke up in the morning, it had pretty much exploded overnight and been shared I don’t know how many times by that point. It went up and up that entire day.”
The excitement came to an end when Facebook took down the pictures at what Allan estimates was “about midnight”.
Apparently, someone had contacted Facebook about the photos.
“They got reported for nudity, even though there was none. And then Facebook reviewed them and decided there was nudity and that’s why they took them down,” she said.
Allan found out the next day when she was notified she had to re-log in to her site.
“So I logged in and got hit with a notification: ‘You have photos that have violated Facebook’s terms’ and then it showed a highlight of the post and said they’d reviewed it and decided to take it down.’”
That was a surprise to Allan.
“It was very disappointing. When they did that, it was at almost 100,000 shares. It had just gone out of control during the day. It had 8,000 comments on it or something like that. It was disappointing to see all of that get taken down. So, I wrote them a letter and said: this is unfair. There was no nudity. They were exactly the same as my female clients. He was wearing underwear. And I see photos pasted all over of male sports figures that have just a football covering them. It didn’t seem fair to me that it got taken down,” she said.
Meanwhile, the media had discovered the story.
“It wasn’t until the next day when the news stations contacted me to do an interview, they contacted Facebook and, because they were able to get hold of them, Facebook put them back up for me,” Allan said.
On her site, her subsequent post says, “If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like if men did boudoir photos….. #dudeoir. Reposted with cropped photos to satisfy Facebook standards”.
After that, the phenomenon just grew. It was all amazing to Allan.
“It’s so funny because it was just a joke. My photography page has gone from having 6,200 fans to 15,000 now.”
That’s really special for a photographer.
“I’ve had already a ton of people book boudoir sessions for themselves because they saw my work. I’ve also had lots of enquiries for weddings, too. It’s been awesome.”
So, what does her family think?
“Well, my kids wanted to see me on TV, so I let them watch [an interview]. They saw the photos and they laughed and laughed,” she said.
Her husband, who was working night shift in Alberta at the time joined in on the joke the next day.
“When I woke up in the morning and saw how it had exploded I couldn’t even tell him: I didn’t want to wake him up because he was sleeping. About 3 p.m., he phoned me and said, ‘So, what’s going on today?’ I answered: ‘What’s not going on today? My phone’s been ringing off the hook’.”
She’s enjoying the unexpected celebrity.
Her story was featured on The Talk, along with stories on Buzzfeed and Huffington Post. In the 11 months since that story, Allan has seen her male model offered a modelling job, has published a fundraising calendar, and has launched a Facebook page entitled Dudeoir, on which fans can post hunky photos of everyday guys they know.
It just goes to show you can’t keep a Valley girl down.