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Sunday, 04 November 2012


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What is not debatable at all in this story, is that the guy likes wine !

Coincidences are fun, and the chances that you and your brother both photographed that one man in Paris are pretty remote.
But the chance that somebody and their sibling photographed the same person in a far-away city are much larger than you would imagine.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birthday_problem for more about that. (If we get 57 comments on this post, it's 99% certain that 2 commenters will share the same birthday, though it's 16% certain that one of them will share my birthday.)

It's a nice coincidence especially as Paris is a big big place but (as Peter will know) like every big city the locals are, well, localized to their own specific places. And so are the tourists.

So were these both shots both taken the same street? The same arrondissement? I would guess perhaps the last two? What was the distance separating the bars? Perhaps not easy to know now but I suspect they're close together not far from where the old guy lived.

Both photographs are taken in places you'd expect to find this sort of guy (in an old Parisian bar avec les pote) doing those sort of thing (drinking wine out of the same glasses) by photographers (who have their favorite arrondissement too ... perhaps one brother mentioning it to the other?) looking for a location (the classic Parisian bar) for a favorite photographic subject (wine drinker older barfly who likes to ham it for the visitors with cameras). You were both doing the same sort of selections that made it more likely to find that guy (and he was making his own selections waiting to be found).

I would have been amazed to find him say in the banlieu and at the bar or in the Gare du Nord and at the bar or at the Eiffel Tower and at the bar. In that case I'd check to see if he was Zelig.

Geoff Dwyer's commented in the Ongoing Moment about the "old guy in the hat and greatcoat" shuffling through the black and white images of many of the photographers of the first half of the twentieth century. Are they all the same old guy? Perhaps this is him in retirement knowing the onset of color photography has made it more difficult to blend in.

Jeff: "Have you considered that you may have photographed his twin brother?"

Gee, and I thought I'd outgrown spitting coffee at my monitor...

Possibly the best comment of the year, from any blog anywhere.

Where is the thumbs up button for this? ;)

On the 1975 photograph, the man looks like he could be asking himself "Who's this guy who keeps following me around and taking my picture?"...

"Possibly the best comment of the year, from any blog anywhere."

Agree. Really made me laugh.


For sure Paris was (and still is) a good place to make interesting photos, and...to have a good glass of wine!

Could be the same bar, looking the other way. The counter looks like the same design. Or maybe all bars in Paris are made this way.

Lovely post and comments.

Nice post, and as my mother sometimes said: "I wouldn't mind that nose full of gold farthings!".

Peter's photo is really interesting because I honestly can't decide if I like it. At first glance I was drawn to it, but when I looked again I decided that the highlight on the nose was distracting and annoying. But then I looked again and decided I liked it. But then...

It's made me think, so that's a good sign.

This guy has a permanent place on my wall thanks to Peter and Mike.

What's so delightful about this is how two people can photograph the same man, in a similar scene, both in black and white and end up with such different images. Just lovely.

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