through a glass darkly

I took this photograph one morning in the early 1980's, looking through the window of the Veselka off 2nd Avenue in the East Village. The Veselka was much smaller than it is now, still very much a Ukranian greasy spoon of a joint back then. For years I always imagined this to be a picture of a young couple settled into their morning after breakfast bliss.

Then in the summer of 1986, I exhibited this photograph with a number of others in a restaurant / gallery space lower down on 2nd Avenue. And at the end of the summer, I received this letter from England written by the girl in the photograph! Beautifully pre-email-ish, with her minimally descriptive drawing - a brilliant companion piece detailing the situation from the other side of the glass - revealing that they were indeed "having a massive row." Like a great turn in a novel, that almost made the picture even better.

I say so much for invasion of privacy issues. Every picture doesn't really tell a story. Garry Winogrand once said: "Photography is not about the thing photographed. It's about how that thing looks photographed." 

Yes, of course, I sent her a copy.