If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then two remarkably reminiscent photos ought to be worth at least a 250-word blog post.

An image from my impromptu photo shoot on Aug. 17.

Two weeks ago, as I loaded my kids into the family van outside my office near downtown Oak Park, I noticed two men playing chess on the trunk of a taxi. It was too cool of a visual to pass up, so I grabbed my camera, snapped a few photos and wrote a brief account, with three photos, of the scenario at TribLocal.

One of the three photos that I posted at TribLocal.

A week later, on page 7 of TribLocal’s Aug. 25 print edition for the Oak Park area, the vignette appeared.

Lo and behold, two days ago, the Wednesday Journal of Oak Park and River Forest featured a strikingly similar photograph (below) on its front page—showing the same cabbie, Bobby Johnson, and a different rival chess player.

From the front page of the Aug. 31 Wednesday Journal of Oak Park and River Forest

Did my work spark the creative juices of Jason Geil, the Journal’s prolific and talented photographer? Or was it just coincidence? (Editor’s note, after this original blog post: It was indeed coincidence, according to Geil, who has since become a friend.)

In either event, when I saw Johnson (again) playing chess outside my office on Wednesday afternoon, I had the pleasure of giving him the TribLocal edition in which he appeared as well as tipping him off to the WJ coverage.

Now, it’s a matter of waiting to see if the national media starts swooping in on Johnson’s cab-trunk gamesmanship.


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