Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tailor tinkering

This tailor had his shop three doors down from the apartment where my friend lived in New York City. I was there for a two-week visit in 1990, my first trip to New York. I took shots of just about everything because I was falling in love with the city and I was flying high on the thrill of fulfilling a dream. When I was little one of my favorite songs was "The Sidewalks of New York," and here years later, in a window right on the sidewalk, was this perfect little man busy at his craft. When he agreed to this portrait I flew higher still.

Ulm 1592

Said the Tailor to the Bishop:
Believe me, I can fly.
Watch me while I try.
And he stood with things
That looked like wings
On the great church roof-
That is quite absurd
A wicked, foolish lie,
For man will never fly,
A man is not a bird,
Said the Bishop to the Tailor.

Said the People to the Bishop:
The Tailor is quite dead,
He was a stupid head.
His wings are rumpled
And he lies all crumpled
On the hard church square.

The bells ring out in praise
That man is not a bird
It was a wicked, foolish lie,
Mankind will never fly,
Said the Bishop to the People.

-Bertolt Brecht, 1934

Albrecht Ludwig Berblinger (1770-1829)
known as the
"Flying Tailor of Ulm"


Wayfaring Wanderer said...

That is a truly wonderful photo....of journalistic quality - I think.

Great little post, I enjoyed it.

Buddha said...

the tailor died trying to fly, the bishop died trying to live.
i rather be a tailor...

Arnold Layne said...

The first shot is great, and I love the smile that old man is giving at the tailor shop. I think I've passed by that tailor shop myself in the city. I always liked how the tailors worked at the window, it must be a nice view.

rachael said...

I absolutely love the photos in the past two posts from your new york city trip! This one is my favorite of the two, just because it's such a perfect embodiment of what it really means to shoot a portrait - a picture that will forever tell the story of the subject.
Most people visiting the city for the first time don't take the time to see the potential through their viewfinders, and are only concerned with snapping popular shots of say, the harbor and the empire state building. But you really found something special in this tailor. (:

Lydia said...

Wayfaring Wanderer,
Receiving a compliment like that from you means so much to me. "Journalistic" makes me think how much I'd love to have interviewed him, to know his story...

Hmmm, you presented a conundrum. I guess the concept of "trying" to live cuts the joy out of it, so I believe I'd rather die "trying" to fly also.

(Great new blog, by the way.) I wonder if you have passed by the same shop. This was taken in the Yorkville area...

Well, all I can say is that a compliment like this from you who has to have one of the best eyes for portrait photography makes me so happy. :)
BTW, I tried to leave a comment about your spectacular portrait of Ms. Harriman, but your blog was blocking comments last night. I'll pop back over to see if it's still all buggy, so if you don't get a comment from me it's because I couldn't leave one!



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