John and Adele

I got an email about a month ago ago from one of the greatest living playwrights, John Guare. He wrote "House of Blue Leaves" and "Six Degrees of Separation." He asked if I was the one who took this picture of his wife, Adele Chatfield-Taylor years ago. It was their favorite picture, and they wanted to get another copy of it. One of my first assignments, when I left working for Annie Leibovitz was a series of 20 portraits for a wonderful French decoration magazine. It was a heady group of people - from Andy Warhol to Paloma Picasso. Adele was in the group. She ran the American Academy in Rome, which is a very famous artist community. John and Adele lived in NY in adjoining apartments, his a big guy mess, hers pristine and well appointed.

I was shooting this whole group of portraits with a single 35mm camera in black and white. It was all I had at the time. I met Adele on the sidewalk outside of her townhouse on the upper West Side. I was totally taken by her. She was stunning and smart and so lovely. I developed a major crush on her, and yet we probably only spent a half hour together. 

This past Tuesday, I finally made it out to the one storage unit in Boulder I thought the negatives might be. Most of my archive in is a facility in Pittsburgh, but I do have some B/W negatives here in an old trunk I used for summer camp when I was a little boy. I reached in the trunk and magically found a notebook with negatives from that project. In the middle of the pages of negatives all carefully numbered and dated, were the three rolls I shot with Adele. The date on the negatives was: June 24, 1983 - EXACTLY 31 years to the day.

I sent John an email. He wrote back, "Hoooorah! Adele & I are traveling in Greece and will be back in NYC tomorrow. Your email makes me want to get back ASAP. " I pictured a steamer ship and them coming back from Europe with all their leather trunks. I also realized here were two people I never imagined being able to hang out with, that would soon welcome me. Through an encounter, taken 31 years ago on the streets of New York.adelenegs