The first 16 photographs are of similar subjects taken at different locations—sometimes days, months or even a year apart.Left: April 13, 2012. Men use ropes to try and right a supply truck overloaded with wheat straw, used as animal feed, along a road in Dargai, Pakistan. Right: Aug. 12, 2013. Reporters gather around a truck that was involved in a traffic accident in Buenos Aires, Argentina.Mian Kursheed—Reuters | Natacha Pisarenko—AP
A swimmer dives into the icy water of the Houhai Lake in central Beijing
Supreme Court Hears Arguments On California's Prop 8 And Defense Of Marriage Act
APTOPIX Mali Fighting
A flock of 500 sheep were burned during
A relative of a victim of human rights abuses touches a memorial wall for people who disappeared during a ceremony to commemorate 40 years of the military coup at the "Parque Por La Paz"
Identification of victims of fire at 'Kiss' nightclub
Iceland Fish Deaths
A Free Syrian Army fighter dives into a swimming pool inside a house in the old city of Aleppo
A rubber glove being used as a marker bobs in the water after flooding in Fox Lake, Illinois
Mercedes-Benz China Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2013/2014 - Day 4
Ultra-orthodox Jewish boy wears a costume ahead of  Purim in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighbourhood
Pakistan Daily Life
Audience members watch a model during the J. Mendel Spring/Summer 2013 show at New York Fashion Week
European People's Party meeting
A Palestinian girl play outside her family's tent in a poverty-stricken quarter of the town of Younis
Free Syrian Army fighter holds the head of a mannequin up to a hole in a wall of a Syrian Army base to attract and locate a sniper during heavy fighting in Damascus
A cat looks at Lipizzaner horse "Alea" as it stands under a solarium at the stables of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna
North Korea Daily Life
Internally displaced children watch cartoons in a classroom of a school in Kafranbel in Idlib
Hand of reveller is seen as she dresses outside the Sambadrome for the first night of the annual Carnival parade in Rio de Janeiro
Bratislav Stojanovic, a homeless man, holds candles as he walks out of a tomb where he lives in southern Serbian town of Nis
The hand of a dead man is partially covered by a table cloth at a crime scene in Mazatlan
Water Hole
A model poses nude while a girl draws her during drawing workshop on Valentine's Day in Mexico City
Chicago River Dyed Green In St. Patrick's Day Tradition
A cannon fires a ceremonial shot just outside Jerusalem's Old City, to mark the end of Muslims' daily fast during Ramadan
Palestinian boy sleeps amidst suitcases at the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip, after the crossing's closure
Mideast Israel Siyum HaíShas
File photo of worker of German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp controlling a blast furnace in Duisburg
APTOPIX Spain Carnival
Worshippers, one holding wooden crosses, lift their hands to the light as they take part in the Christian Orthodox Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old city
Hindu Devotees Gather For The Maha Kumbh
APTOPIX Mideast Syria
A soldier from the People's Liberation Army jumps through a ring of fire as part of training during the PLA Army Day in Wenzhou
Employee of a foreign exchange trading company looks at monitors in Tokyo
Kevin Anderson of South Africa serves to Fernando Verdasco of Spain during their men's singles match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne
Juventus' Mirko Vucinic celebrates after scoring against Pescara during their Italian Serie A soccer match at the Juventus stadium in Turin
Italian supporters in Rome
Gorilla baby at Prague Zoo
Ukrainian National Circus presents new show
Chinese inventor Tao controls his self-made humanoid robot with a remote controller as he poses with it at his house in Beijing
Samsonov sunbathes as he sits on an ice floe on the Yenisei River in Krasnoyarsk
Cam Auge Caylee Wasilenko
Peru Lima Beachgoers
India Wildlife
Bagram Afghanistan January 29 2013 Soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division and 101st Airborne Division await takeoff of a C-17 Globemaster that will take them from Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan to Manas Airbase in Kyrgyzstan. The troops, who have completed combat tours in easter Afghanistan, will then be flown back to the United States.
Israelis react and run for cover as a siren sounds warning of incoming rockets in the southern town of Kiryat Malachi
A bull is seen with a banderilla stuck into its back during the seventh bullfight of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona
AP10ThingsToSee North Korea Daily Life
Students attend a masterclass with dancers of the Royal Opera House at the Rio de Janeiro Municipal Theatre
Dancers perform a fire dragon dance during a folk art performance to celebrate traditional Chinese Spring Festival at an amusement park in Beijing
Rainy weather in Germany
North Korea
Chinese honor guard at state guest arrival
Circus on Fontanka
Portugal Surf McNamara
An Indian photographer lifts a fake tige
A devotee of the Chinese Bang Neow Shrine with two guns pierced through his cheeks takes a part in procession during the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket
APTOPIX Indonesia Volcano
Fans watch Spain's Rafael Nadal change his shirt after he defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany in their match at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing
The company of HMS Lancaster Poppy display
Members of a local winter swimming club take part in their weekly bath in the Yenisei River, while air temperatures stand at minus 17 degrees Celsius, in town of Divnogorsk
A boy plays on a giant trampoline at a mall in Mumbai
APTOPIX Afghanistan
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men take part in a yoga class at a studio near Jerusalem
People sunbath as Ferrari Brazilian's dr
Madhav Narayan festival
A man checks an apartment on a damaged building at the site of a blast in Reyhanli
A Free Syrian Army fighter rests along a street in the old city of Aleppo
Spacesuits are seen laid out for U.S. astronaut Marshburn, Canadian astronaut Hadfield and Russian cosmonaut Romanenko before an exam at Star City outside Moscow
*** BESTPIX *** Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey Visits Gen. Fang Fenghui
Rafah border tunnels rebuilt
APTOPIX India Republic Day
Japan Earthquake
Italy's Member of the European Parliament Ronzulli takes part with her daughter in a voting session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg
Buddhist devotees carry candles while encircling a large Buddha statue is seen in this long exposure photograph during Vesak Day
Barack Obama
Barack Obama
The first 16 photographs are of similar subjects taken at different locations—sometimes days, months or even a year apar

Mian Kursheed—Reuters | Natacha Pisarenko—AP
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2013: An Amazing Year of Déjà Vu

Dec 11, 2013

At this time last year, TIME LightBox presented a gallery of photographic duos — pairs brought together for their similarities. Whether the resemblance was conscious, accidental, coincidental or merely aesthetic, these images — like peas in a pod — bore remarkable and often surprising likeness to each other.

These days, it’s close to impossible for a photographer to produce a wholly original image. Everyone is a photographer, and chances are, if you're taking a photograph of something, someone else is too. Photographers, thus, have to try harder and harder to produce an image uniquely theirs — free of clichés and imitation.

But photo-driven déjà vu can take one by surprise, too. Triggered by images’ composition or content, similarities in pictures of divergent subjects can often seem like far more than mere coincidence. Unlikely connections in disparate photos can nag at us, even when the images are made years or many miles apart. And, of course, photographers working in different countries or on separate continents can have no idea that they’ve made an image nearly identical to another taken somewhere over the horizon, or on the other side of the world.

This year, we decided to play off the idea of déjà vu that we started last year — embarking on an anthropological dig through our collective visual memory to unearth images from the past year that awaken a familiar sense of recognition. Although it feels you may have seen it before, coincidence can be truly unbelievable!

Phil Bicker is a senior photo editor at TIME.

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