Sunday, September 25, 2011

(Well) Beyond Coincidence...


Somehow, I don't think it would have looked as good with a Kindle.

I was going to write about my recent trip back home, the picture above, and my most recent reflections and revelations- not to mention that I spent sixteen and a half goddamn dollars on a pair of blintzes at Veselkas (good as they were). And blah, blah, blah... What I will tell you about however, is my final night in said city...

One of my goals in NY was to interview Mr. Alex Harsley of The 4th. St. Photo Gallery. Mr. Harsley has been at that location since 1973, showcasing many a then no name, up and coming photographer- many who have faded into oblivion, many now household photographic names. The only African American photo-gallerist in NYC then, and unbelievably enough, perhaps the singular holder to that title to this very day.

Although I did not get to interview him then in my out of the blue drop in, he did agree to do so via email- something I am very much looking forward to. But this is not so much about that, as it is about a ridiculously, near semi-miraculous occurrence that transpired right there, that night, in his gallery, upon my arrival!

Upon seeing him that night, I immediately asked him if he remembered who I was- I kept mostly to myself those early years, but lived just a few doors down from him in the early eighties. Brandishing a broad, welcoming smile, he responded, "You're the guy with the dog!" After some initial small talk, I asked, "You remember what color the dog was?" I asked this for no other good reason than that at another time, another guy had recognized me as "the guy with the dog" and recalled my dog as being large and black (not the case).

Mr. Harsley then motioned me to follow him to the storefront window of his gallery- right there, center stage, in a large B&W print was a crowded street scene of that very block taken circa 1981 with me walking my dog Bob in the foreground. Then came the clincher- in all the thirty or so years that transpired, all approx 10,950 days... he had chosen to put up that photo on the very same day I just happened to drop by to see him!

Now all you rational type people out there can tell yourselves that that's nothing more than sheer coincidence. Nothing more, nothing less. 10,950 days to pick and choose from, and he just happened to pick the day I showed up completely unannounced to put that particular photo up (out of thousands of prints). You'd have to be certified to believe that was "coincidence".

6 comments:

GoGo said...

i love serendipity! i'm appreciating your blog as well. definitely beyond coincidence. :)

Noah Beil said...

Awesome story Stan. But who took the photo in the window?

Stan B. said...

Thanks, GoGo- probably beyond serendipity as well...

Sorry, Noah- none other than the man himself, Alex Harsley!

Mark Page said...

I hope he gave you the print? You well fella?

Stan B. said...

Had to leave next morning- hopefully, sometime in future... Nevertheless, it was quite the kick to see twenty five years of oneself there before you some twenty five plus later, "forever" preserved. Kinda reminds one what photography is all about in the first place...

Mark- Can complain but who wants to hear it; hopefully got a few more pictures (and maybe even a few more blog posts) left in me-
how's by you...

brnyc said...

Amazing! I'm headed over to Alex's later today and I'll check out the photo.