I was listening to This American Life on the way to camera club tonight- it was the episode about coincidences that was recorded while Ira was on vacation. It was a series of stories about strange coincidences reported by their viewers, like the fellow who was having a long distance relationship with a young woman and asked her to text him a picture for his phone screen saver. She sent one shot when she was about 5 years old and in the background the fellow saw his grandmother walking. A photobomb in today’s terms.
The fellow lived in the east, the girl in the west or midwest and the grandmother in Florida, so it seemed impossible that his present girlfriend could have been in the presence of his grandmother some 15 years before. The photo was taken in Canada, I believe. As it turned out, the grandmother had traveled there to visit her husband’s relatives and was caught by accident in the frame of a photo being taken of a young girl by her parents. About as strange as my mother sitting in Disney World having lunch and looking over to see a childhood friend sitting in the adjacent table, they hadn’t seen each other for decades.
So the show asked what coincidences the viewers experienced. At first, I couldn’t think of any but then one came to me. I was on a photo trip to upper New York and found that someone on the trip (that I did not know until that point) had looked at my photos and found, within the hundreds of them, a photograph of her best friend and their family that I had entitled Dancing in the Streets. I had shot it as a street scene during a downtown festival, it was not much more than a snapshot but I had wondered who the family was.
And we think it’s useless to play the lottery.