The Time I Shot Andy Warhol By DODAI STEWART (nytimes)
I moved to New York in the summer of 1979, when I was 7 years old. For a girl raised on Eloise and Sesame Street, the city was a storybook made real — busy, busting with energy, oozing music and dance and art. I loved movies, tap-dancing and singing songs from “Annie” at the top of my lungs, and I had an inkling, a suspicion, that I was destined for fame and fortune. To others my name was weird; to me, roller-skating in a Wonder Woman swimsuit and terry cloth running shorts to the sound of Donna Summer blaring from car radios, it was unique and soon to be in lights.
Until then, I gobbled up the sights and sounds of New York. I devoured Degas canvases at the Met, stared at the riot of colors on graffitied subway cars, and wrote plays that were performed in our Upper West Side living room. I also picked up my father’s hobby — photography — and got into the habit of taking a camera with me to amateurishly document my family and the sidewalks of Manhattan.
I wish I could say that I remember everything about the day I shot Andy Warhol. I think the year was 1981, but it could have been ’83 — he had a show at the American Museum of Natural History that year. I was with my family, browsing in one of my father’s favorite shopping centers: the flea market held in the asphalt yard behind Intermediate School 44 on 77th between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. The flash of white hair — the white wig — was what I noticed first, and as the man beneath the wig moved past some tables in front of me I gasped. Andy Warhol. I raised my camera without looking away from him and snapped a shot, star-struck and breathless and fully aware that he was staring straight at me.
I like to think he was tickled by the vision of a little brown girl reverently photographing him. I’ll never know. But the incident certainly had an impact on me. It seemed to be an important piece of the puzzle I was meant to solve, a clue, a sign: I was on my way to something BIG. I mean, I had to be: I’d photographed Andy Warhol!