October 2020 (and also 1988 & 1978)
The Covid-induced lull provided an excuse-proof opportunity to tidy-up old files and archives. Our most dreaded one (obviously kept for last) was an entire filling cabinet literally packed-full-to-the-brim with thousands and thousands of client-related pre-digital-age photographs (transparencies of all shapes and sizes, for those of you who even remember what these were) – accumulated since the start of the agency in 1985!
This historical timeline will for sure be the topic of one or more other stories. But one in particular instantly came to mind, taking us back to around 1988. We'd then stared working with Directorate of Tourism. And we needed pictures. So they solemnly handed us their entire photo library: a yellow plastic basket full of 35mm Kodak slides.
Many had hand-scribbled annotations on the frame, and weirdly enough, the handwriting looked very much like François' mother's. Naturally this puzzled him greatly. 🤔🧐🕵️♀️. Now, sure: his mother had indeed lived in Bahrain a decade earlier and – equipped with her ubiquitous RolleyFlex camera – had always been a keen amateur photographer. But surely she would have preciously kept such photos within her extensive private collection. And there was no logical way by which they could have ended up in the hands of Tourism Directorate. Ah… well, someone obviously had a very similar handwriting…
Fast forward a few years: one fine day François casually mentions the story of the doppelganger handwriting to his mother and shows her one of the slides… “Ahah!” she laughs, “yes, these are my pictures indeed! How on earth did you end-up with them?”
“WHAT!!?? 😳😳😳 Well, YOU tell me!”
So here goes: back in 1977-78, when Francois’ parents were still in Bahrain, a French journalist had come over to write a report on the island for one of France’s top weekly magazines. The reporter needed photographs to illustrate her article and had turned to François’ mother who had kindly lent her a bunch of her personal pictures. Obviously, the journalist had also been in contact with the Tourism authorities, and had somehow eventually returned the photos to them rather than back to their author… And in the weirdest twist of fate they had ended-up back with her son ten years later! Wow! Talk of a coincidence!
And so, where are these pictures now? Well, who knows… Over the few years that we worked with Tourism, the magical yellow plastic basket kept shuttling between them and us. It seems its last stop must have been at the client’s – because it certainly no longer is with us 😢. But who’s to know… maybe someday we’ll come across them again 🕵️♀️… Afterall, their fiftieth anniversary is only eight years away!
And as the story shows, what goes around certainly does tend to come around – at least some of the time!!!...