I took this picture last night on the way home from a lovely dinner with my friend Susan. I decided to walk home from the west village – a good one-to-two mile walk – as it was nice out and Adam was going to be out late. I figured I might run into something interesting to photograph – as I seem to do nearly every day in this constantly buzzing city.
I usually take Bleecker street all the way across to my place in the East Village, but last night I decided to mix it up and walk along West 3rd instead. Along my walk I witnessed several interesting things you don’t typically see unless you live in NYC… some drug deals taking place, some funky-looking old dudes walking out of the “Blue Note” jazz club, a postal woman in uniform walking into a sex/fantasy shop – and then as I passed by MacDougal street, I saw the beautiful Arch at Washington Square Park all lit up from afar. I decided to take a detour to check out the happenings at ten o’clock on a Wednesday night in Washington Square Park.
That is where I stumbled upon my photographic subject of the evening… his name is Benji Kaplan and he was sitting right underneath the arch playing beautiful Brazilian music on his guitar. He was all alone – with just his guitar, his backpack beside him, his white contribution bucket in front of him and a pile of CDs. I immediately wanted to take his picture because the lighting was beautiful. But I waited a minute and decided to just listen to his music first for a little while. I loved it. So I bought a CD for five dollars. Then, I asked him if I could take his picture. Of course – my contribution to him and to his art, made me feel that much more comfortable taking his photo – so I took a bunch. And i just hung out there for about fifteen or twenty minutes, taking pictures and enjoying his music. We talked a bit too and I wrote down my blog name for him… maybe he’s reading it now. Then, I walked the rest of the way home, feeling satisfied that I’d gotten a photo of the day that I’d be proud of in the morning.
Oh – and the album I bought is called Paixao no Violao, which translates to “Passion on Guitar”.