October 6, 2007

I found a driver and that's a start

This photograph was my first sale. It was purchased not by a newspaper, but by an architect.

Doug was a friend who sometimes hung out down at the loft all those years ago. I would have given it to him, but he insisted on buying it from me. So I asked for fifty dollars, quite a sum in those days and circumstances. We were all at the start of our careers back then, scarcely past our teens; Doug was on the fastest track of any of us, and had already acquired an aura of assurance and inevitability. I Googled him today, wondering if there'd be a trace, and a bunch of articles about him in the New York Times came up.

He wanted the photograph, an 8 x 10 print, as soon as he saw it. "That's amazing," he said. "It looks like you set it up." It did have that look, once he pointed it out, although it was just a street shot. But Doug had caught on to its graphical cache'. And he already had the means to act on his convictions.

I think Doug seeded my career. Soon thereafter I was shooting the Village People's first album cover, thanks to another friend, an artist who took a liking to my stuff, and then I was wangling a press pass, with nothing but chutzpah, a stolen camera, and a tall story, to the Olympic tryouts at Madison Square Garden. Those were the days, my friend. Our breaks came out of nowhere, and our crashes were picturesque. I was loved, and forgiven, much.