Young Thieves

In 1982, I bought a one-way ticket from my homeland in Western Canada to New York City. The adventurous dream was to work for Jay Maisel and eventually become a photographer.

And somehow, I actually did land a job with Maisel and succeed in this dream, but that's another story.

With any free time I had working for Maisel, I would wander the streets of the city searching for images. Being a young naive Canadian, still learning the streets, I ran into 3 young men on Williamsburg Bridge.

Eager to find photographic subjects, I struck up a conversation with these boys, aged 15, 17 and 19 years old. I managed to get a few photographs of the guys, and before I could even blink, the oldest one grabbed my camera and ran. With a heavy bag of lenses over my shoulder and the other 2 guys standing there, the only thing I could think of doing was to run after the one with my camera.

He jumped down to the traffic level of the bridge, dodging cars so dangerously close. Following him, I realized the traffic hazard, timed my moves and eventually cornered him and said, give me my camera back! He gives the camera back and I got the hell out of there, not fully comprehending what had just happened or realizing the real danger.

Later, telling the story to Maisel and others, I was informed that I was a fool and should have let them take the camera. My only reasoning for the chase, was the camera still had the shot film in it, and I wanted the images of these boys.