Back to Katz’s Deli

February 18, 2013

I’m going to New York this weekend to attend a workshop by David Alan Harvey. While there, I’ll have about a day and a half free and I plan to go to the International Center of Photography, Dashwood Books to meet j carrier and Caroline’s on Broadway to see John Mulaney. I love stand-up comedy.

This is all icing on the cake, since the workshop alone should be pretty transformative for me and is the sole reason I’m going. However…

I was reminded that 6 years ago I took the photo that I was most nervous to take. While at Katz’s Deli (a famous New York deli that you probably have heard of), I was captivated by our waiter. I had a film camera with me and a few frames left on the roll, but I didn’t think I had the guts to take his photo.

I sat through the meal feeling nervous, knowing that I had to do it. When he was clearing our plates, I finally asked, claiming that I was a “photographer,” which I’m not sure I believed at the time.

He dragged me over to the meat counter and struck a pose. I took three frames and had to wait until I got home to develop the film. One of the photos worked, thankfully.

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I’m going to bring a print of this photo back to Katz’s Deli to see if he still works there and give it to him. I’m still grateful for the inspiration he gave me on that day and want to say thanks. If he’s not there, I hope that someone remembers his name.

Here are the other two frames.

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UPDATE (March 2013)

I made it to Katz’s Deli with my print in hand. Everyone lit up when they saw the photo and told me that his name is William, but he no longer works there. I was ushered to the back so I could show the photo to the manager, who told me more about William. I gave him the print and we talked for a little while before he insisted that I sit down for a free meal.

I’m really glad I followed through with this. It was a pretty rewarding experience and I still hope to track down William someday.