The Suicidal Photographer is a pedestrian who spawns on the coastline of the Flint County Scenic Route that runs from the Flint Intersection through Back O' Beyond. They can be seen taking photos of the view across the Los Santos Inlet to Rodeo, Los Santos, before walking forwards and falling into the inlet itself, dying upon contact with the water, as all pedestrians do.
The pedestrian is unique in that a range of pedestrian models from across San Andreas has a small chance of spawning. Pedestrians from Los Santos and the San Fierro countryside can be found as the photographer, but mostly they will spawn as one of the desert pedestrians, such as Mr. Trenchcoat. This is because to spawn the photographer, the player must approach the Los Santos Inlet from the Flint Intersection. In the game's files, the Flint Intersection's ped group is actually
POPCYCLE_GROUP_DESERT_FOLK instead of
POPCYCLE_GROUP_FARMERS, causing the photographer to appear as desert pedestrian thanks to the spillover from approaching the inlet.
The photographer has a set of different behaviors. They have several animations, including taking a photograph while standing up, squatting on the ground and staying still, and taking a photo while kneeling. The most common occurrence is for the photographer to take a single image standing up before walking into the ocean, but it is not uncommon for the pedestrian to take several photographs in a row and even change their animation while doing so. Rarely, the pedestrian will spawn and immediately walk into the ocean without taking any photographs.
If the player aims a weapon at the photographer, he will stop taking pictures and begin the surrender animation. However, instead of running away when they put their arms down, the photographer will instead walk into the ocean like normal. The player can also force the pedestrian to walk into the water by jacking cars or starting fights near its position. If the player attacks the photographer, they will repeatedly snap photos of CJ, as the game still considers the camera a weapon, and will pursue him until the player kills the photographer.
The Suicidal Photographer will spawn at any time of the day and during all types of weather.
It is widely believed that the pedestrian's strange behavior is the result of a path glitch. It is possible that the developers forgot to add a path for the pedestrian to follow after it carries out its commands, so the pedestrian reverts to the nearest pedestrian path, which is located in Los Santos. When pedestrians in the game aren't on a defined path, they walk in a straight line until they find one. If the player uses a map editor to place a pathway to Los Santos and allows the photographer to cross, they will walk in a straight line until they reach a sidewalk in the Rodeo district, where they will act like any other normal pedestrian.
It has also been surmised that there was originally going to be a footbridge over the inlet in the beta version of the game, but it was removed during the later stages of the game's development, and game developers forgot to change the pedestrian's code so they became suicidal.
Another theory suggests the surrounding land once had an extended plateau that stretched out into the inlet, but the developers cut the land back to almost the edge of the road in late stages of the game to form a more natural entry to the channel that feeds Flint Water, but forgot to update pedestrian paths or occlusion zones.