Who Took This Picture?


I often get asked about making candid photographs. Do the people know they’re being photographed? Do they ever find out?
In fact I’m well aware that most of what photographers do seems downright weird to those who don’t use a camera, (sometimes even to those of us who do).
When I was a youngster, there was a photograph my mother once showed me. The story goes, that she had just arrived by boat from Germany in New York and was waiting by the docks for my father to get car so they could load up this large trunk. This was probably about sometime in 1964. She remembered the day but recalled nothing else odd about it, my father rolled up, they loaded up their stuff and were on their way.
Some months later my grandmother wrote from Germany to tell my mother that she found a photograph of her in Life magazine. It was the image above. My mom had no idea. Her mom sent her a photocopy and that was about it.
Funny that some years later I find myself a photographer making candid pictures in a similar tradition. Projecting?… Maybe. But somehow this photograph stood in mind as a teen and I spent hours looking through old Life magazines for it in its original context to no avail. So dear readers perhaps you can help me. The style of photograph seems so familiar, I can almost put the photographers’ style to the picture (Elliot Erwitt?!…. perhaps just wishful thinking).
If you can help identify the photographer, magazine issue or otherwise I’d be more than happy to repay the picture with a print.
Details: My mother on the left side of the image, she recalls the article being on immigration, approx. 1964

3 Comments

  1. Posted February 7, 2008 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    this place is up in morton grove http://www.magazinememories.com/ They can get you any back issue of Life, I once sought after the famous irracible group photo of abstract expressionists, anyway, you can go up there and go through all the 1964 life mags and find the photo. It’ll be around 60 or so for the magazine.

  2. Posted February 9, 2008 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    I’ve heard good things about this place in NYC. They have an enormous stockpile of vintage magazines.

    Best of Luck!

    Gallagher’s Paper Collectibles
    126 E.12th St.
    New York, NY 10003
    TEL: (212) 473-2404, FAX: (212) 505-3486
    email: backissu@aol.com
    URL: http://www.vintagemagazines.com

  3. Posted February 9, 2008 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    That’s a great story. One thing I’ve always wondered too is how many people have in their personal pictures someone famous before he or she was famous.

    Imagine a couple walking in NY, taking a picture of them and a certain guy crosses in the same time or is in the next table and, some years later the world know him as, let’s say, Woody Allen?

    There must be a lot of this pics loosing color in albums around the world, don’t you think?

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