A number of years ago, during a stint of unemployment, I was assisting a friend, a still-life photographer out in his Brooklyn studio. One day, after a day’s shoot, we went into Manhattan to drop off the film and while we waited for it to be processed by the lab, we had dinner and drinks. For reasons that escape me, we had a lot of drinks. We drank well into the early morning. On our walk up the Bowery at about 3AM, both of us heading home, we crossed Bleecker Street. I looked up ahead and under the glowing light of a street lamp, I immediately recognized the shock of white-gray hair walking towards us. “What to do?”, I thought. There he was. A 36 roll pack of toilet paper on his shoulder and his other hand was clutching a plastic bag. As we got closer, I wanted to acknowledge his presence. I nodded slightly. So slightly he didn’t acknowledge it back. I wanted to say something and also take a photograph. I fumbled. I was too inebriated.
As we passed, I turned and saw that he turned around the corner towards where I knew he lived.
I said to my friend, “Do you know who that guy was we just passed?”
He said, “The guy with all the toilet paper?”
I said “Yes.”
I said, “That was Robert Frank.”
My friend stopped dead, “No??!!!”.
I said, “Yup. God does crap. Apparently a lot.”