My wife, a professional photographer, searched for some good characters for her New York book. The man in the red suit (photo above, title “The GUCCI Man”) watched her shooting wall graffiti, smiled at her and then asked: “Are you’re working for a magazine?” “Yes”, she replied, “in Germany…” – “O.K.” he said, “make a portrait!”
Reading about “Street Photography” in the blog post Talking Street by Patti Kuche, New York, the (former British) author made me laugh with: “You’re shooting a Canon? You should be using Nikon! So much better!” (Her bitter reaction to those advice by tourists: “recommend you duct tape over the brand names, on the body, lens and the strap”). My European reaction maybe would be very British: “You are shooting narrow-minded? You should at first change your small social horizon, so much better …” – though, that’s not political correct. But for sure like George Bernard Shaw or Oscar Wilde would prefer to answer.
When we visited New York, I noticed a pretty woman leaving the Rockefeller Center after a party with celebrities. Hidden in the entrance she deconstructed herself very quickly: put all her jewelry and expensive high heels into a cheap plastic bag, walked out with simple slipper shoes. I had made document series with my camera. She smiled, came to me and said: “Please don’t publish the shots, I have fear to become victim of a robbery…”
Patti Kuche told about another typical street photographer’s dilemma situation: A “Union Square famous” asked her “…if I wanted “to take a photo of him, just a few dollars.” I said sure, and assured him that my rates were reasonable enough. “What,” he screamed, “you mean I pay you? No, you pay ME!” [the Union Square famous can hear a camera click at 40 paces which to him is like the sound of a cash register!]”
When we sat on the steps of the Public Library at 42nd Street, a friendly man came to us and said, “I overheard a conversation: the two that have taken place in front of you and left behind you, have agreed to rob your cameras! I do not want, that my black skin gets into disrepute and therefore I give you this notice…” We jumped up and scampered off into the subway station.
our New York book:
When we searched for a concept of our planned New York book we were influenced by a poem of Lawrence Ferlinghetti: “Autobiography”
for example the lines:
“…I have seen the garbagemen parade
in the Columbus Day Parade
behind the glib
“I have seen the garbagemen parade
when it was snowing…”
“…I have seen …
the Laughing Woman at Loona Park
outside the Fun House
in a great rainstorm
“I have heard Kid Ory cry.
I have heard a trombone preach.
I have heard Debussy
strained thru a sheet…”
“I have slept in a hundred islands
where books were trees.
…I have dwelt in a hundred cities
where trees were books…
…and I may make my notebooks
into sheaves of grass.”
from A Coney Island of the Mind.
Copyright © 1958
“…and I may make my notebooks
into sheaves of grass.”