The Quarantined Street Photographer Wanted to be Like Garry Winogrand

Eugene A. Melino
5 min readAug 7, 2020
“Washington Square Park, Summer 2018.” Original photograph taken by author.

I found you again,
a single image, one among
thousands from that summer when
we could still crowd without a mask.
You stepped out into the August dusk,
a low sun shining through your dress,
the shape of your thighs a sudden intimacy.
I was walking downtown,
snapping pictures
like my idol Garry Winogrand

when we fell into step
entering Washington Square.
I turned as if just observing,
glimpsed you in profile,
the breeze tugging back your hair,
the slightest upturn of the mouth,
eyes gleaming. With mirth?
Or was it just the setting sun?
Oh beautiful one,
you knew I was looking at you.
I gathered my courage.
“Can I take your picture?”
“What for?” you asked, the question
unsmiling your lovely mouth.
I stammered.
Said I was a street photographer
like Garry Winogrand,
which of course meant nothing to you.
A man in a suit stepped between us.
“So sorry!” He back pedaled,

his deference throwing us together.
I took my chance, snapped one shot.
You turned away, “Please…”
I hurt you. I was an idiot.
Like a penitent child, I lowered my camera,
apologized, eyes averted, & walked on,
pretending to look for other subjects,
camera in face, lens in palm
like Garry Winogrand.
Not until I crossed the park
did I look back. You were gone.

Eugene A. Melino