Go to any landmark or tourist destination, and you'll probably end up in a dozen other people's photos. Of course, we're probably just milling around the Grand Canyon in somebody's vacation snaps, but lucky Sharon Collins, left, actually encountered her own image hanging in a museum.

In the 1950s, Swiss photographer Robert Frank snapped a photo of a Miami Beach elevator girl gazing upward, lost in thought, which was included in his 1958 photographic road-trip journal "The Americans" (see the original, iconic image below).

In the book's introduction, Jack Kerouac wondered about her, writing, "That little ole lonely elevator girl looking up sighing in an elevator full of blurred demons, what's her name & address?"

Kerouac never found out, because Sharon Collins only recognized herself as the girl in the photo 10 years ago, when "The Americans" was being exhibited in San Francisco.

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As she told NPR, "I stood in front of this particular photograph for probably a full five minutes, not knowing why I was staring at it. And then it really dawned on me that the girl in the picture was me."

Kerouac called her lonely, but Collins came forward as the elevator girl this summer when the exhibition began touring again -- it'll arrive at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art next month.

Next time you find yourself in the way of someone else's snapshot, stand still. You might become art.


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