I arrive early, and look to see where the set up will be, I want to be first or up there, I hear he can be difficult, or sensitive is a better word. I am the same, so I understand. I look at a few books on the table, I glance up, feeling a presence, and in walks Avedon. We lock eyes and instantly smile. Magic, my heart skips a few beats, no it’s not relief, it’s fright. I am in awe of his talent and now he is all charm. I see why..his photos are true and withstand time. The line begins to form and I am lucky enough to be in front, only ten or fifteen people before me. The chatter begins. The Japanese, man in front of me starts to unwrap his items. He turns to me,”do you think he will sign all of these?’ “I hope”! My spirits sink, optimism turns to fear..will we tire him out...this man has so many obscure published pieces-he has reprints from magazines, a poster of a calendar from GQ, with Richard Gere, Egoiste, and it goes on, but when his turn comes, I watch intently, trying to focus on Avedons’ mood, it’s still good. He refuses to sign some of his pieces from the man in front of me. I better think quick, what do I show him first to set the tone. I look him straight in the eyes and smile again, he is doing the same. I hand him the heavy Autobiography. “To whom shall I ...just your name please, and would you please ...my hands, I hope they aren’t trembling, I take a breath and somehow just unwrap the photo..Avedon, loses a breath and, and all I hear is “How?” “I took it off my wall”, I start to explain, and realize that he is holding my hand, and he is truly touched..”I haven’t seen this picture since I took it”, “She’s my mother in law..he says the word Georgia and studies the photo.”Do you keep it like that”? Yes, I love the frame, I love the age, and the crack..it’s not acid free. I know, but it looks beautiful still.., This was my first trip to Europe and Georgia’s too. My first photos of Maxim’s..How is she? Not well, but still holding..Give her my love. He is still holding my hand, and then takes the photo, and really looks at it..”It takes me back a bit, it was so much fun. Georgia ate her way through Paris, she nearly didn’t fit into the dress”! I don’t even have this print or negative, this is the only print,”Do you know how valuable this is”?... and then just like that, a light bulb looked like it went off in his head..you remind me...but I do have a bunch of prints in a warehouse in Long Island City that I should look at.. should do something with them..”well if you would ever like to borrow this print, we would be happy to lend it to you”. We stand there and talk some more, he asks me what I do,”did you ever model”? No, well maybe a few times..I’m not good, ”You’re very pretty..but he doesn’t ask to take my picture, still looking intently I tell him I produce photo shoots, and had been a Photo Agent for Fashion Photographers. He is all ears. We talk for a long time. “May I, he looks at the back of the frame, and carefully with surgeons’ precision opens the bent nails, removes the back, holding the print face down, I inquire the G on the back of the print. Avedon tells me it is the signature of Gremla. It is important that you remember..because he was the “Best Printer in the World”, none better, I don’t think there is anyone better, than the master.”He must have loved your negatives...perfect match”..”This is an extremely valuable print..the only one in the world I don’t even have a copy, and I don’t know where the negative is..and with that he looked in my eyes, now”, looked back at me, and then again... He looked at the print, and penciled on the mat” Georgia Across The Years”,
A big kiss and Hug and “Thank you.” It goes back on the wall.