Kate and I spent the weekend in the city; in fine bridge-and-tunnel fashion, we drove up, parked in Chinatown, and shopped in my old neighborhood. I bought a new Fred Perry shirt, as my collection of boxy, short-sleeved HTMLer shirts was getting threadbare. Also, some soap. Kate bought a purse. We visited the Macintosh store/event that Genevieve wrote about.
On Spring street, in front of Balthazaar, a short Danish woman with a peasant top was taking polaroid photographs with an old bellows camera, then opening the pictures before they were finished and transferring the caustic developer to a piece of cotton rag paper. The images were soft and washed out, with a greenish Seventies tinge. Her folding table was covered with photos, each showing a beautiful NoLita hipster at the side of the frame, traffic passing behind them. Each subject was gazing off to the left; most looked awkward and uncomfortable. Photographer awkward, though: artistic awkward.
We watched her take three photographs of a Korean hipster girl in a bucket hat, looking over one shoulder. While she rolled the negatives onto the wet paper, she asked the girl to translate a blurb she’d gotten in a Japanese style magazine. “Lotte Hansen”, read the subtitle. “New York Street Beautiful.” The photos pictured also had bucket hats, also looked somewhat wistful.
Kate and I had our pictures taken, which (of course), was… well, awkward and embarassing, especially when the crowd outside of Balthazar is watching you intently, trying to whomp up their courage. When I’m not hamming it up in pictures, I suddenly have too many hands and feet. Lotte told me to stop talking, then paused, then took the picture.
The resulting print (at the right, on heavy cotton paper) looks forlorn, but I kind of like that about it. I have enough goofy pictures already, and Kate and I both recognize ourselves in the image. Lotte was very intent and serious about her art, keeping one photo of every three for her collection. “It’s nice”, she said, looking at the picture. “It’s peaceful.”