Monday, November 30, 2009

Capturing Joel Meyerowitz

Last night I dreamt I ran into Joel Meyerowitz.

I was wandering around Manhattan, snapping photos of people who had no idea I was shooting them. Heading west on 42nd Street from Grand Central, I get to 5th Ave, and pause... watching the blur of people around me... waiting for "the moment" to come. I look across the street - and there I see a tall, bald man - dressed all in black... holding a black Leica - apparently doing the same thing I'm doing. I look down in my hands, and see that, rather than my Canon D-SLR, the camera I'm holding is a black Leica M8 (the camera I've wanted for a while - and plan to buy next year). I bring the camera up to my eye... and look towards the man. He brings his camera to his eye - and looks toward me. There we stand, staring each other down through our viewfinders. It was then that I realized that this was no "ordinary man" - it was one of my favorite photographers... Joel Meyerowitz. Everything around me gets extremely quiet - even though there is a crowd of tourists surrounding me... and traffic blowing by. All is quiet... until the silence is broken by the very distinct sound of two Leica shutters firing at the same time. The traffic lights change... the "WALK" sign is given... we lower our cameras and begin to walk towards one another. As we pass one another, our hands extend - not to shake, but to exchange cards. No words... no other form of acknowledgement - just the exchange of cards. I tuck the card into my jacket pocket and keep walking toward the next block - never looking back. I glance down at the screen on the back of my camera... looking at the perfect shot of Joel taking the perfect shot of me. Knowing that I've "captured" him (and that he has "captured" me as well) - I feel a smile, as I bring the camera to my eye and point it towards the next "victim"...

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