The Unexplained: Who is the man in the photographs?

The artwork of Austin artist Dan Barry. Dan’s most recent mixed media artworks explore themes that are simultaneously intensely personal and universal – mortality, loss, connection, family, and the passage of time. Image copyrighted by Dan Barry.

The mysterious photographs all have one thing in common.  There is the same young man in each picture, posing with the celebrity. 

This is a different kind of unsolved mystery.  I am pretty sure that with enough exposure, this mystery will be solved in a short time.  Someone is bound to know the centerpiece of the mystery.  Someone is bound to recognize him.

The mystery concerns the popularity of found photos and found negatives.  There have been several batches of these circulating on the internet lately.  They are snapped up in flea markets and thrift shops.  Some of the images are from undeveloped rolls of film found in old cameras.  One recent batch was from 125 years ago.  One was from 75 years back.  Both had stories written about them.

Dan Barry is an artist that lives in Austin, Texas.  Barry is just such an old photo seeker and collector.  He has often said:  “At some point, all of these cast-off photos meant something to someone.”

One batch of his recent photo finds has the date 1994 on them.  The photos in this batch are of mostly A-List celebrities or A-Listers from the recent past.  Because of the dates on the photos, and wardrobe comparisons, two events have been considered for the occasions of these Hollywood galas.

Sara Marie Hogg

They all have one thing in common.  There is a young man in each picture, with the celebrity.  In most pictures, the young man seems chummy with the celebrity.  In some of the images, the celebrity seems slightly amused or shocked at what might be a nervy intrusion.  The facial expression seems to be one of disbelief.  (We’ll humor the guy.)

The young man did dress appropriately for the occasion.  How did he get into the event?  What did he say to get his picture taken with the celebrity?  Who did take the picture?  Was the photographer a friend of his?  So many mysteries.  We assume he would have to have an I.D. to get in—unless he was with a recognizable celebrity who was perhaps also taking the pictures.

Somehow, on possibly two separate occasions, he was able to get his photo taken with celebrities such as Brendon Fraser, Clint Eastwood, Natalie Cole, Robert Stack, Shirley McClaine, Walter Matthau, Raquel Welch, Warren Beatty, Jay Leno, Winona Ryder, Emma Thompson, Whoopi Goldberg, Geena Davis, Aliecia Silverstone, Glen Close, Roddy McDowell, Steven Spielberg, Buddy Hackett, Nicole Kidman, and Bruce Davison.

A few years before, there was a middle-aged mystery woman who appeared in a similar batch of photos.  It took a while but it was finally determined that she was a member of HFPA, Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Was the young man a valued friend of a party-goer, or was he a cunning gate-crasher, and what were his motives?

If you are interested in Dan Barry, the artist, you can find web pages devoted to his work.  The artwork is also mysterious.

Sara Marie Hogg is the author of The Scavenger’s Song. Please click HERE to find the book on Amazon.

Sara Marie Hogg

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