My Dinner with Matt

Matt usually takes me for a birthday dinner at the Mansion on 86th; usually a few months after my birthday because, well, I’m just not much into eating out.  But on the way back, it’s become a tradition to use him or his camera as a prop of some kind, and to shoot him in the parking garage mirror.  Since he’s shooting film, and it’s night, he’s not going to waste much film on this game; but since I’m digital, it doesn’t matter.

What do we talk about when we get together?  Well, generally some way to build the business – that never goes anywhere.  I’m sure that he’d like me to start a photography lab so that he could have a friend do his printing at a cheap friendly price.

And since I’m doing everything possible to move away (though it isn’t possible) of doing this type of production all day and night, we follow an imaginary path that involves renting space, and hiring people that always ends in the same place – nowheresville.

After dinner, we sit like two old men, outside the restaurant and watch people go by.  Commenting on the shots we’ve missed, or what we’ve gotten.  An ambulance pulls up with lights flashing right at me, and two attendants help someone out of the restaurant and into the ambulance, while I’m taking my pictures.  Matt tells me that my images will be underexposed because of the flashing lights, and grabs for the camera to see what they look like on the back but I don’t give it to him because he’s always teasing me about using digital so why should he get to see the instant stuff.

Get your own digital gizmo if you want instant feedback.  But eventually I hand it over and he’s surprised that the shots come out properly exposed.  Now how did that happen.  When he and I talk about photography, for me it’s like talking to someone from the 20’s.  It’s as if I’ve gone back in time.  You have to remember, he doesn’t even have batteries in his camera.  Doesn’t use a light meter.  Develops film without a timer or a thermometer.  (I’m not kidding).

If I told him that he should at least have a little pocket meter with him, he’d just laugh in my face.  Why would anyone need to meter anything after all these years.

Of course I do miss a few shots because the 5D simply isn’t as fast at focusing at night as the 40D was; esp. it seems with the 50mm.  I have to live with that in exchange for being able to use the higher ISOs.

Well anyway – maybe it that guy ordered the juniors cheesecake, which is what we had and it was like eating an entire cake.  If anyone tried to eat that thing by themselves, they’d need an ambulance.


The garage mirror (convex or concave… surely I don’t need to look that up).  I’ve going to say concave since it is caved in.


Ghostly for sure…  and why shouldn’t it be.  We are, after all, just shadows… walking around for a few years before vanishing…


into an ambulance.


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My name is Dave Beckerman. I am a fine art photographer working in New York City.

9 thoughts on “My Dinner with Matt”

  1. Congratulation to the birthday. If I knew I would drove from Newark to you. Security was not a problem I was outside anyway. They told me about 90min by cap from there to you.

    Great evening and nice story about it Dave. Once again all the best to you!

  2. Develops without a timer or a thermometer? Wha? I mean, he told me he only uses Tmax developer ’cause he likes to keep things simple, but he spent, what, thousands of dollars on a scanner and he doesn’t try to control the density of the negs? There’s ‘simple’ and there’s . . . I’ll have to save that comment for his blog.


  3. OK, so I am a dinosaur, but that mirror has the most exceptional slimming capabilities and I will keep coming back to it till I shed some pounds, which will never happen at that diner, now that the two tone cheesecake has been discovered…

  4. “We are, after all, just shadows… walking around for a few years before vanishing…” I’d say that basically summarizes the situation.

  5. Posted a new video of Matt’s photos without his permission or the permission of the songwriter Willie Nile. I hope they don’t sue me. That would spell doom for my burgeoning web business, Lester’s Jersey Springs Seltzer Water,

  6. Please remember that quite a bit of what I write is purely for entertaiment purposes. I will exgagerate, expand, and often write downright lies if I think they are amusing.

    I give my word that I only do this with close friends. The more I enjoy your company the less likely I am to write anything completely truthful about you.

    As for what I write about my own experiences – I would take it with some Kosher salt.


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