After all these years of making pictures, I am often asked “What is your favourite photograph? (Canadian spelling) The answer is always the same: It is “The Goose” Bronx 1958. It was made on an assignment for a New York Times story on the Teamsters Union. As so often happened this photograph was not used in the final story, but in those days and still, I sold only one time rights to my work and retained copyright.. probably more important, the image didn’t disappear into an electronic file. There were none then. It was put into an archival negative envelope with a star next to it. That meant “Pay attention to me!” and I did.
I think it was first exhibited on the bulletin board of Professional Camera Repair, Marty Forscher’s shop on West 47th Street. My idea was to share stuff I liked with the many colleagues who were in an out of this wondrous place. That was a sharing time.
You will probably think “What’s so special about that picture? Well, to me it incorporates everything that is important about photography.. capturing action, capturing a special moment, capturing life..you will notice I didn’t mention ART. That wasn’t important then. The wonder of reality was important.
In the late fifties I started doing serious projects for the U.S. Information Agency, including the County Agent Exhibition, The MIT Essay and The Atoms for Peace exhibition. I worked for Yoichi Okamoto the director of photography. He eventually became the official photographer for President Lyndon Johnson and in that post created an extraordinary visual narrative.
On the last day of the Johnson administration Oke wrote me a letter on White House Stationery. He told me that his favorite photograph, “The Goose, Bronx 1958” hung on the wall in his office, just below the oval office. The reason was his wife wouldn’t have it hanging in their house!
“The Goose, Bronx 1958” is now in the collections of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The International Center of Photography, NYC, & Musee d’art Contemporain de Montreal. There are a few prints available for sale, made and signed by me.