I remember strolling down E 56th Street at 5th Avenue in Manhattan a few years back. It was sometime in October and I was just walking the streets with my camera that day, a Fujifilm X-E2. Which is the digital camera I carry around with me when I just go for a walk about. I remember looking to capture what I love about NYC, that you can get a dose of all kinds of difference on the same street corner.
But then, this struck me: an older gentleman gliding through the intersection on his bicycle. The man was uber-stylish – a comfy and warm tweed jacket, fitted beige slacks, two-toned and textured leather boots, capped off with a green wool ivy cap, sunglasses and scarf. He was carrying this vibrant orange back pack. He was riding this somewhat put-together bike with a massive chain lock wrapped around the neck of his seat. Of course, it had a vibrant yellow plastic bag on it for protection from the rain I could only suppose. It was a bike that belonged here, in NYC. The man too. This was a man who was stylish for his own sake and not any one elses.
As I was following him in frame, he led me towards this other man, crossing the street within the lines of the crosswalk, walking away from me. This man had a long beige trench coat, which looked like it was covering a dark pinstripe suit. He wore black dress shoes and finished off his look with wool gloves, a grey fedora, and what looked to be aviator sunglasses.
I couldn’t help but compare and contrast the two strangers. So different. It triggered in me a pondering of how I would be at their age. Would I be hip and comfortable in my own style, alive and full of pep? Riding a bike in the middle of the city and indulging my inner youth still? Or, would I be the other gentleman, aged, controlled, following the path and chasing proper?
Quickly, I take a snap and continue on my way. It isn’t until afterwards, after downloading and seeing the photo once again that I continue to ponder this dilemma, ‘what kind of man will I end up being? Which one of these men stand at the end of my trajectory?’ And now, I can’t help but think about it when I see this photo. I keep asking this same question, continuing to wonder, even as I get closer and closer to that age.
with dignity & respect…Lee