One day I decided to call Henry Miller. I dialed “O” and asked for Monterey California information. The operator I got sounded like someone Miller and I would have fought a duel over. “I’m looking for the number for Miller, Henry Miller, in Big Sur”. She was sympathetic. “Oh,” she said, “people like that never have their numbers listed.” We chatted for about two minutes. If I knew then what I know now (which isn’t all that much more, really) I’d have persisted and gotten the number somehow . . . maybe.
This is my favourite photograph of Miller, taken by Harry Redl. I don’t think it’s ever been published or shown anywhere. Harry described the day he visited Miller and was taking a few pictures of the author with his tripod-mounted Rollei. Miller asked him to take some pictures of his watercolours and brought them out and leaned them against a stone wall. Harry got out another camera, took some shots, and turned around just in time to see Miller sneaking up on his Rollei, to grab a shot of him.
I never did talk to or meet Henry Miller and despite all my unsubtle hints Harry never gave me a print of this photo. The one you see here is taken off Harry’s business card and is reproduced twice the original size – thus its inferior quality.
This almost insignificant anecdote was prompted by having just watched this wonderful short film: