This Remarkably Ordinary Woman Took Photos With Hundreds of Celebrities—and Her Scrapbook Is an Accidental Work of Art

Maria Snoeys-Lagler posed with everyone from Bruce Willis to Angelina Jolie. The results are magical.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Tom Cruise. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.
Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Tom Cruise. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Everyone loves a great thrift store find, but a Belgian shop hit the mother lode this month with an incredible 1990s-era scrapbook documenting one middle-aged woman’s encounters with all manner of A-list celebrities.

Among those pictured? Such luminaries as Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie, and Kate Winslett, all immortalized in the age before digital cameras. There’s Elijah Wood as a child, Bruce Willis with hair, and Will Smith in a shiny green button-down, seemingly poised to erupt into a rendition of “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It.”

When employees at Opnieuw & Co, in a suburb of Antwerp, discovered the photo album amid a box of donations, they knew it was something special. “This was not something that someone would get rid of voluntarily,” a spokesperson told Bored Panda.

The nostalgia-soaked snapshots, carefully arranged an album covered with a pink floral motif, amount to nothing less than an unwitting—albeit fabulous—piece of Outsider art, pairing some 200 of the world’s most famous faces with the same unassuming woman, short and stout, her face framed with carefully coiffed, light brown curls.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Will Smith. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Will Smith. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

The composition for each image is simple. The woman poses next to the famous actor, typically standing in front of a nondescript backdrop: curtains, or a blank white wall. Almost invariably, she offers the same cheerful grin to the camera, never seeming starstruck in the least.

The pleasing uniformity of the photographs is what elevates it to the realm of fine art, an absurdist masterpiece. We see the instantly recognizable celebrities posing, again and again, year after year, with an anonymous woman in her boldly untrendy floral dresses and patterned blazers.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler's photo album. Photo by Opnieuw & Co.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler’s photo album. Photo by Opnieuw & Co.

But who was she, and how did she seemingly know—or at least come into contact with—half of Hollywood?

The thrift shop posted the photos on Facebook in an effort to identify the mystery woman and return the album. The photos, unsurprisingly, went viral, but eagle-eyed viewers also found a clue.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler's photo album. Photo by Opnieuw & Co.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler’s photo album. Photo by Opnieuw & Co.

Posing with Jane Seymore, the scrapbook keeper can be seen sporting a press badge, which identified her as Maria Snoeys-Lagler, a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association who died in 2016 at age 87. The HFPA runs the Golden Globes, and its members attend prestigious film and television events in advance of casting their votes—hence Snoeys-Lagler’s unique access to the stars.

Since uncovering her identity, Opnieuw has managed to track down Snoeys-Lagler’s daughter in California, and will be sending her the photo album. Let’s hope she in turn finds a good permanent home for it—LACMA or the Academy Museum, are you reading?

See more photos from the album below.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Jane Seymour. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Jane Seymour. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Jack Lemmon and Sophia Loren. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Jack Lemmon and Sophia Loren. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Hugh Grant. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Hugh Grant. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Tom Selleck. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Tom Selleck. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Luke Perry. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Luke Perry. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Helen Hunt. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Helen Hunt. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Steven Spielberg. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Steven Spielberg. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Nicolas Cage. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Nicolas Cage. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Kate Winslet. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Kate Winslet. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Kirk Douglas. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Kirk Douglas. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Liam Neeson. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Liam Neeson. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Jack Nicholson. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Jack Nicholson. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Anthony Hopkins and Richard Attenborough. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Anthony Hopkins and Richard Attenborough. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Drew Barrymore. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Drew Barrymore. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Antonio Banderas. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Antonio Banderas. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Christopher Walken. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Denzel Washington. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Denzel Washington. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Jon Bon Jovi. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Jon Bon Jovi. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Angelina Jolie. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Angelina Jolie. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Harrison Ford. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Harrison Ford. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Elijah Wood. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Elijah Wood. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Johnny Depp and Juliette Lewis. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Johnny Depp and Juliette Lewis. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Patrick Stewart. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Patrick Stewart. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Bruce Willis. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Bruce Willis. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Kevin Bacon and Tom Hanks. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with the cast of Saved by the Bell. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Pamela Anderson. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Michael Douglas. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with William Shatner. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with William Shatner. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Meg Ryan. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Meg Ryan. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Danny Glover. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Kevin Costner. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Kevin Costner. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.

Maria Snoeys-Lagler with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Photo by Maria Snoeys-Lagler.


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