Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Siesta Photo Bomber hopes to keep beachgoers smiling

“It’s refreshing," Larry Frankel says. "I'm passing on good vibes. I just want to see people happy.”

Larry Frankel strikes his jumping pose.
Larry Frankel strikes his jumping pose.
Photo by Ian Swaby
  • Siesta Key
  • Neighbors
  • Share

Larry Frankel starts his daily routine by downing two cups of coffee, then doing about 300 pushups and 250 arm curls.

After that, he may go to work, traveling the country to acquire art and collectibles to sell.

But it’s the sunsets on Siesta Key Beach that lately, he really can’t wait for.

At sunset, he enjoys a different type of exercise — the kind where he makes many stops — and that involves meeting people from Canada, South America and Europe, all along Siesta Key Beach.

“(Sunset) is when I slip into the Siesta Photo Bomber,” he said.

It was a year ago that Frankel began surprising beachgoers by dashing into their photos. He decided to try it one evening as he was emerging from an eight-year hiatus from running caused by a hip issue. 

Larry Frankel strikes his classic pose.
Photo by Ian Swaby

Frankel said the great majority of beachgoers “get” why he does it. It’s not about bothering anyone, but in fact, it’s the opposite, he said.

“It’s refreshing. I like it because I'm passing on good vibes. I just want to see people happy.”

He said those vibes seem to emanate from Siesta Key Beach itself.

“This is a special place,” said Frankel, who has lived in the area for over two years and enjoys spending time in the outdoors.

He said his sense of fun is catching on with the public, as many of the 15-20 stops he makes during his beach runs are now the result of beachgoers recognizing him and calling him over for a photo.

Since launching his Instagram account on May 1, 2022, he has acquired over 1,600 photos and 2,100 followers. He also said he has over 150,000 views on his Instagram video reels — not to mention a collection of 75 different Siesta Photo Bomber T-shirts he designed himself.

Larry Frankel participates in a group shot.

He also has a book he continually updates with positive comments he receives.

This is not to say that rejection is never an issue, but he said as a former member of the United States Marine Corps, he’s willing to try anything, and his skin is thick enough that he can manage rejection when it does occur.

There are times, he said, when beachgoers are less than enthralled. In those cases, he’ll simply move on.

“In the beginning, I had a woman who didn't actually do it, but motioned to kick me in the butt, and honestly, in a year, that's the worst that’s happened to me.” 

Someone else, he said, once threw a football.

Frankel does not consider himself the source of anger for those individuals.

“They're just kind of angry in general,” he said. “They can't possibly be angry with me, because they don't know me.”

Larry Frankel has branded himself as the Siesta Photo Bomber.
Photo by Ian Swaby

One of his favorite parts of being the Siesta Photo Bomber, he said, is meeting the people who travel from all over the world to visit Siesta Key Beach. At one point, he encountered a vacationing group from Iceland, where he was been stationed for more than a year as a Marine.

“I was blowing their minds with some of the towns, and some of the bands, and some of the places to hang out we both knew up there. They actually gave me their number and said, ‘If you're ever back up in Iceland, stop in.’ That’s pretty cool.”

Yet Frankel wants to rake in more than smiles and views – he hopes at some point to encourage donations to charities. The two organizations he hopes to support are Toys for Tots, as it is run by the Marine Corps, and the American Lung Association, which he said represents a cause “near and dear to my heart.”

“I'm just a common Joe who likes to run and have fun, and it's staggering to me that I'm getting close to 2,000 pictures of people on the beach. That's pretty neat.”



Ian Swaby

Ian Swaby is the Sarasota neighbors writer for the Observer. Ian is a Florida State University graduate of Editing, Writing, and Media and previously worked in the publishing industry in the Cayman Islands.

Latest News