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??
6 thoughts on “Denizens of the Street. Share a Street Story.”
But you have to wonder if he does not get asked that question quite often? I hope he walked away with a little spring in his step! Sorry for your disappointment, Keith….
I was wondering that myself Loisajay…. I wanted to chat with him more, but I was a little embarrassed!
An update to this story. After looking at a few video interviews and listening to Josef speak English, I came to the conclusion that the man I saw and spoke to was Koudelka. Why he would have lied when I asked if he was he? I have no idea. https://www.youtube.com/watch?x-yt-ts=1421914688&x-yt-cl=84503534&v=z_D5hLeQqHM#t=36
Ah, that’s a shame…..
Yes – mine’s worse. About 10 years ago I’m, walking down Broadway in the 90s. I see a guy with a digital Leica over his shoulder. There was only 1 model back then, I think and they were pretty rare. Of course, I’ve never had one and can’t really use them because I really don’t see well enough to focus a rangefinder in time for grab shots in the street so I ask him, how do you like that?
He tells me he loves it; he’s been shooting with Leicas for over 40 years and this one give him great big files to work with. We nod at each other and move on. But after I go I’m thinking he looked awfully familiar. On a hunch I look him up and discover I’ve just asked Joel Meyerowitz how he likes Leicas and not shown much enthusiasm for his answer. Color me sheepish.
Meyerowitz is so recognizable too Adam. Funny!