Austin Irving, 24
Tompkins Square Park.
Mon Oct 19 2009
I guess you can't wear a helmet with that hairdo. [Laughs] It's true; you can't.
Where'd you get the look? Well, I had dreadlocks for seven years, and I didn't do my hair at all. When I cut them off three years ago, I was obsessed with hair products, because I had missed out on seven years of girly hair stuff. I discovered this one way of doing it, and it became my one-note song.
Were the dreads a reflection of your personality-slash-politics-slash-Rastafarianism? [Laughs] No, it was a fashion choice. I was 14.
What do you do? I'm a photographer. I use exclusively film and a four-by-five-inch-format camera for my fine-art photography, which is what I hope to be my...source of life.
Hauling that crap around is such great exercise. Great exercise! Though I'm lucky to have a handsome, strapping boyfriend who often offers to carry my tripod.
How did you meet this gem of a man? He actually gave a really moving and eloquent speech at our mutual friend's funeral, and I was like, Whoa, I really wanna be your friend.
Wow, not your standard pickup spot. Well, it wasn't like that at all—it's not like I'm going around to funerals scoping guys. I was just so taken aback that someone in that much stress and loss could express himself with such eloquence. And he has such a great vocabulary.
Good grammar is really hot. It is really hot! Yeah, right? Like, get a dictionary! Pick up a thesaurus; see what happens. [Laughs]
More from Austin
"I'm so used to being in the photographer's position. I love asking people about themselves, and I love taking people's photographs. So it's really weird for me to be on the other side of things right now."
"I just wrote my very first song. It's a love song for my boyfriend—it's called "Love Song for Jesse White." I was very proud of myself because it's been something I've wanted to do for a long time, and I finally worked up the courage to teach myself how to sing and start writing music."
"I live in Chinatown. New York Noodle Town is a fantastic place to go—I love the spareribs there. And we go to New Green Bo a lot on Bayard, which I think is now called Nice Green Bo. Oh, and I literally cannot get enough of the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory on Bayard between Mott and Bowery, even though it's a huge tourist attraction. The Zen Butter is by far my favorite ice cream. It's, like, sesame...oh my God, it's so good you'll die."