Funny, I don’t write much about the neat things that happened in my life. There have been a couple that I kind of keep under the rug for one reason or another.
I was a student at the Universite de Moncton, 2nd year, a young more or less ignorant kid. Just being realistic. We had a class trip to New York, holy crap that was so cool. Every moment was like a new flavour to discover, there was danger and shelter; always something to keep your adrenaline popping.
We did the museum and gallery thing. Went to one gallery where I got to see actual prints from photographers like Robert Adams and Joel Peter Wilkens, we were just four students getting attention from the curator.
I almost got kicked out of the Museum of Modern Art for sticking my finger in a Jackson Pollock painting… I couldn’t resist. But they didn’t kick me out.
But, the thing that happened on New York that will move me until the day I drop my body is this:
One evening, an envelope is slipped under the door of my room at the YMCA, addressed do me. The note tells me to be at pier 43 the next morning at 10 AM. I did recognise the writing as being that of my photo prof.
The next morning, I get up, get ready and walk to pier 43. This took me through Harlem and other apparently less than desirable places. It felt oddly frightening because there was nothing threatening. I rember the basketball hoops with chains for nets…
I get to pier 43. I see, in a distance, an Italian style checkered cloth waving in the wind. There are three people standing around the table. I walk towards it, it takes for fucking ever. The sky is mostly grey but full of blue sucker holes.
I get there. It is my photo prof, a curator and none other than Robert Frank himself. I almost shit myself, I am just a kid, a rookie what the hell am I doing here with that icon. We exchanged simple small talk, he summers in Mabou Nova Scotia and I come from Dieppe New Brunswick, not that for and not that different. So we had something in common.
Frank spent his every penny on maintaining a building where he had his studio and that also housed homeless people of all kinds. There is something important to learn with that.
Anyway, that was reason 1 of why I decided that all I could be was an Artist.