A man who lived in the streets, a man whose name was known but who few had met in person, wrote on walls, on canals’ pavement stones, on boats, wherever he was,
become your dream
If you lived in the city, you would read it at least once a day, sometimes more. You would read it and either ignore it or think about it for a few seconds and question whether you are on the path to become what you dreamed of when you were a child, whether you would be proud of what you have become if you could look at yourself now from then.
So you took this photo of a delivery boat with the writing on the side of it, Julia asked.
Yes, said the bald man with round glasses. I took it with a pinhole camera I built from a small metal can and a square film, I let some light in through this pinhole here, he said pointing at the small hole on the side of the can, and covered it after a minute, I then developed it and printed it on paper without enlarging the image. The man had a small stand in the middle of Campo dell’Unione, along with the vertical farmers’, the honeymakers’, the hatmakers’, the winemakers’ and other stands of makers of all sorts.
Can I make a drawing of you, Julia asked the man.
I am ugly, old and don’t feel well, he said, I once was a beautiful boy, he said.
I would like to make a drawing of you, and I would like to buy this photograph of the boat with the sign, please.
The man smiled and Julia gave an attentive look at him and his expression. He then wrapped the photograph in a thick sheet of paper and gave it to her. Julia took it and put it in her bag. Later, at home, she would make a drawing of the magic man, the man who made photographs with of tin boxes, the man who thought he would die but then regained enough health to go around and look for subjects, just like she did, and make pictures with cans he constructed, with pins and duct tape, and printed them beautifully.