Paths Crossed: Steve Schapiro

An elfin guy, sweet smile, carrying cameras and surrounded by a rumor of greatness. He seemed shy and shyly unobtrusive.

Steve Schapiro became a temporary part of The Great Gatsby while we were shooting in England, at Pinewood Studios. 

How and why did he come to take a photo of me? No recollection, but I guess he asked and I must have said yes, although until I understood the secret of getting successfully photographed (smile big even if fake), I shrank from having my photograph taken. He was that gentle a guy.

Steve showed me the photograph. I loved it, the way I have never loved photographs of me. I don’t have a print.

At the time I was so self-centered — massive anxiety will do that to a psyche — I did not fully grasp what Steve was indeed great at. As I read his obituary and saw his profound photos of the 1960’s civil rights battle, I realized how much his work had affected me then, in the ’60s, when I saw it in magazines and newspapers.

There’s grief right here. Steve, I wish I had paid attention then. I wish I had been worthy of that picture.

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