A Minor White Shaggy Dog Tale

In the course of my renewed communications with Jim Friedman, I happened to recall an incident concerning his mentor, Minor White.  In the summer of 1973, my sidekick, Bill, and another friend, Mike, and I were making the rounds of New York City’s art museums.  At one point Bill and Mike decided to sit and rest awhile, so I took a few photographs of them and the human traffic in front of some windows, then went off for a few minutes to explore another room.  When I returned, Bill told me that someone had photographed them as they sat there, from much the same vantage point as I had done a few minutes earlier.  One of my series of photographs taken of them on that day, never previously processed past the negative stage, I have now re-discovered and show it here:

(facing camera center, left to right: Mike, Bill)

Fast forward a few months after we have returned to Los Angeles: One day I visit Bill and he tells me of reading a magazine where he saw a photograph of Minor White, and recognized him as the mysterious photographer that day back in New York.  So Bill does some research (pre-Google!) and writes to Minor — I think it was via MIT, where he was teaching — asking him if he was in fact that shooter, that day.  A couple of weeks later, White responded, not only with a confirmation that he took their picture, but also enclosed a color slide of the result.

Turns out that the letter and the color slide are no longer in Bill’s possession (but we have some idea where we might be able to find them), hence the shaggy dog aspects of this story: I cannot (yet) show the Minor White version of my image above, although Bill tells me that it is similar in composition and scale.  If we are successful in locating these items, I do intend to make a follow-up to this post, so that Jim can take a look.  Maybe; stay tuned.

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