He is now famous. Known only as JR, this man has traveled the world taking pictures of people who are invisible to the dominate culture. He began photographing immigrants and minority residences in a suburban town of Paris. He then enlarged the photos and put them on the sides of dilapidated buildings they inhabited. When riots broke out the following year, the world came to see and discovered his work. Now his work is in 140 countries and he has created a collage of selfies that have been sent to him and it covers the floor of the nave in Pantheon in Paris.
Aside from the pop-up art that he inspired around the world, what fascinated me in the article in the June 23, 2014 issue of Time Magazine was how JR got started. He had been a graffiti artist. But, one day he found a camera on the Metro that someone had left behind. That discovery changed his life. Something lost by someone else became a door for a life of celebrity and art.
I guess we never know what impact we have. Things that we may have outgrown or left behind may become something that changes the life of another person. We often think that the way to make it in this world is to have a dream or vision and then work hard to fulfill that vision. And certainly there is evidence that such action can result in achieving our goals.
But, don’t under estimate the power of surprise. We never know what our actions might produce. What we leave behind in our life, the love or compassion, the kindness or tender touch, might just be the gift that opens the door for someone else to discover their future. I doubt that the person who left behind the camera on the Metro on Paris even realizes what an impact he has had on the world of art.