Saturday, January 21, 2006

German Camera/Japanese Woman

A couple of months ago James Mitchell was back in Miami on business and brought his fiance Hideko along for the trip. I drove down to South Beach to pick them up in the truck, not the most ideal vehicle because it really only seats two. My previous truck had a bench seat that sat three with plenty of room, but a nice lady decided to run a stop sign and broad sided me with just enough force to bend the truck's frame without causing me any more than some minor bruising. State Farm totaled the truck. I called Bill Lehman, the dealer, and got this truck, another Toyota Tacoma, and the very first automatic transmission that I ever owned! James had assured me that Hideko could ride on his lap for the ride from South Beach to my neighborhood Starbucks.

James is the perceptive genius who first emailed me a few years ago when Johnny G posted a photo of me on the Leica Forum, a cigarette dangling from my lips and a hang-dog expression on my face rivaling that of the most down and out street person. James said it was a real classic look, the equal of the famous shot of Cuban revolutionary Che Guaverra, and belonged on a T-shirt. Would I allow it? Sure, I said, just get Johnny G's permission. Emails work fast! A week or so later the first shot of somebody wearing a shirt appeared on the Leica Forum. Soon orders were coming in from as far away as Australia, as were pictures of people proudly wearing their shirts! Unfortunately James ordered just a dozen at a time, driving up costs, and shipped via Priority Mail guaranteeing that no profits could be made at $20 each. I did manage to get a couple of shirts out of the deal though, and a lot of notoriety.

The Miami Herald did a story about it, and about every other paper in the Knight-Ridder chain picked it up and ran it. Had James or myself been more astute businessmen he wouldn't still be placing the occasional order for a dozen more shirts. I keep thinking that perhaps The GAP could have featured it before Christmas in all of their stores and sold tens of thousands of them. Dream on! (Maybe it could become this year's official Starbucks shirt?)

Business brings James back to Miami on a fairly regular basis. He'll be here again next month with Hideko for several days beyond what his business commitment requires, and I'm hoping to get some more pictures of the three of us together, perhaps all wearing The Shirt. Maybe go around and get some landmarks of significance in the background to add variety to the shoot. I'm also thinking of swapping vehicles with my ex for a day or two so we can enjoy the spaciousness of her SUV. It pays to stay friends.

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