Chris Prowls for Pictures, 2009 and 2011
I try to end the week with posts that have something nice, or even pretty. This week you'll have to be content with two pictures of me.
This is actually a response to an e-mail I got yesterday from someone I don't even know. Her name is Nancy and she's a friend of a friend of a friend, one of those people so far removed that you'd have never known her in the pre-Internet, pre-Facebook days.
But because she’s a friend of a friend of a friend who sent her a link to my blog, Nancy wrote to ask, "How do you slip in and out of places without drawing attention?"
The quick answer is that I don’t. I told Nancy that although there are a few tricks of the trade that any shy person knows—dress in keeping with the place (but not so as to draw attention), stand away from the crowd and simply stand still so that you become as unnoticed as a potted plant—I'm really not much of a stealth operator. In fact, compared to my friend Gary Clark, whose presence elicits only the warmest and most welcoming expressions from the people he photographs, people look back at me with a sneer that says "WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT?"
As evidence I offer up the two pictures above that show me as you might find me in an early morning walk. Both were taken, as coincidence would have it, in front of the revolving door that has become my de facto New York self portrait studio. One was taken a year and a half ago in the dead of winter, the other last weekend. Both show how rumpled or disheveled I can be when I head out for a morning walk.
My point in showing these is not to show off—neither is particularly flattering—but to demonstrate to Nancy that on some occasions I'm anything but stealthy. This past Saturday I was out for a walk in Midtown Manhattan dressed in the same paint-splattered shorts I wear when I walk in the morning at home. I’m okay as long as I’m walking among runners or other walkers. But the minute I step away from them I very quickly become a guy wearing paint-splattered shorts in a neighborhood where people usually only wear paint-splattered shorts within the confines of their own homes, if at all.
Being in cities makes me want to be a little more presentable than I am when I'm home and revert to my usual “relaxed” style. But if you catch me early in the morning before I’ve shaved and cleaned up, there’s no guarantee of what you’re going to get.