Just as I was thinking this, I turned around to see Frank and his wife walking out of his apartment locking the door. I read recently that he was now living in a new apartment in the area that was more "age friendly" (he's 87) but apparently he had kept the old place as well. Without thinking, I rushed across the street with my hand extended and introduced myself. As I shook his soft, mushy hand I said, "Hello Mr. Frank. I used to live right there across the street," pointing up to the arched windows on the 5th floor. He looked confused but smiled. "I used to sit on my doorstep and take photos of you sweeping your stoop." Now he looked really confused and his wife smiled cautiously with the look of "this guy is crazy." Then I realized that none of this made any sense to him so I ended it quickly with, "Well, I just wanted to shake your hand, I'm a big fan...." and then I mumbled something about his book Americans as he turned and walked away. I suddenly felt this odd feeling, like the one you must have when you know you've just blown an important job interview.
As I watched him hobble away with the help of his wife and cane I realized a couple of things: What a complete lunatic I just sounded like and that I had just broken my own cardinal rule of never bothering a celebrity.
Hell, I should have just broken all my rules and asked for an autograph....
A quote from NPR:
Frank spent his time off wandering New York and photographing what he found. "Like a boxer trains for a fight," Frank says, a photographer needs to practice by getting out and taking pictures every day. "It doesn't matter how many he takes or if he takes any at all. It gets you prepared to know what you should take pictures of or what is the right thing to do and when."