If you live in a place for a long time, photograph inside/outside of your neighborhood, you are bound to run into characters, celebrities, the famous, the infamous… People who become familiar fixtures as you navigate around making imagery.
Last week I was walking up Broadway from 34th Street to Times Square. As I was crossing an intersection I saw a gentleman walking in the same direction who looked strangely familiar. I noticed how he was dressed – black army boots, green fatigue cargo pants, a black wool watch cap, a heavy tan canvas jacket, with a tan canvas bag over his shoulder. He had a very deliberate walk. I also noticed he was carrying a Leica or a XPan. He had it covered in both hands. He had a blond grayish beard and was wearing round wire rim glasses. Instantly, Josef Koudelka came to mind. Could it really be??
I followed behind for a couple of blocks trying to get a better direct look. I tried to Google his picture on my cell phone, but couldn’t get a connection. I called my wife who was in her office and she instantly text me a recent portrait of him. It was him!
I waited until he finished taking a picture. As I slowly approached him, I asked, “Are you Josef?”. I immediately became aware before he even spoke that it wasn’t him. This man was at least 10 years too young and much thinner. As he spoke, “Sorry, no I am not”, he had no trace of an accent. It was perfect American English. I was somewhat disappointed and a little embarrassed. But my word, this could have been him 10-15 years ago!
Oh well. This is my recent street story.
Do any have one to share??