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Far From Flatbush

Word and Image 1

The idea that a writer's image is as important, if not more important, than his words is as old as the writing biz itself. One of the most famous examples of this is the picture that Harold Halma took of Truman Capote for the dust jacket of his first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms. People talked about this sultry shot of the 24-year-old Capote reclining on a sofa more than they talked about his prose. It's the image that made the author a star.

I’ve always tried to portray myself as somewhat less scruffy than I am in real life. In general, if I’m posing for publicity shots, I wear a nice sport jacket, a good pair of jeans, and shoes rather than sneakers. And I’ve gotten some good results with this costume, notably the shot taken by Marcia Resnick that’s on the back cover of Beaver Street.

This week, Michael Paul, a photographer I’d recently met, offered to shoot me in Tompkins Square Park and around the East Village. So, I decided to try something different—a more natural semi-grunge look. I wore a jean jacket, a faded pair of blue jeans, an old pair of sneakers, and T-shirt. You can see one result above. I don’t know if it’s going to help me sell more books, but it is an accurate representation of how I’d look if you ran into me on the street. I’ll post another shot tomorrow.
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