Photographer spots his lookalike in John Lennon poster

When I first saw the photo, I was a little confused. One was the Beatle John Lennon because his name was written in bold, but who was the other person who looked like him?

Well, it’s New York photographer Eric Kogan who often travels on foot in Manhattan. He enjoys street photography because it engages him with his surroundings, and he can see something new even in mundane or familiar places.

On the afternoon of October 25, 2020, Kogan was shopping. John Lennon was not on his mind at all when he dressed to leave his house. New York was on a COVID-19 lockdown and there was no cause for concern about how she looked or what she was wearing.

At Houston Street near West Broadway in Manhattan, an intersection he passed very frequently, Kogan suddenly stopped in his tracks and did a double take. Oh, yeah, that was John Lennon, but… why does Lennon suddenly look so familiar? Of course, he spotted a resemblance for the first time!

“Seeing his portrait made me step back and take a good look at myself,” Kogan remembers that day over a year ago. “I was alone at the time – which was good because I don’t think I would have kissed the moment as much as I would if I had been in company – and that made me withdraw my mask to study my face.

“It felt like years had passed since I saw myself from the side and looked at my profile, and what started out as a quick and funny coincidence turned into a tedious image to correct. I took it from several angles before I got to the one you see here.

She was taken with her phone with her arm outstretched to keep this versatile camera out of the frame.

“Most of my street photography is done with a camera and a 35mm lens, but the focal length turned out to be too narrow this time around, so composing on another device felt like a new and engaging, ”Kogan explains. “It was tricky because it was so big, printed at least 25 times larger than the actual size. Standing close to him would make me smaller, so I struggled to find the perfect distance where, thanks to the illusion of the shortcut, we seemed to be of equal scale.

And so, a very interesting self-portrait or a double portrait was born!

Eric Kogan was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1985 and lives in New York. Kogan’s first experience with photography came in his early teens with a position in a photography lab. His first duty was the processing of the film. He remembers his first time working in absolute darkness as a light flickered in his head as the one in the room went out. Getting creative with the medium didn’t start until college. In 2004, an art photography course brought him back to the darkroom.

About the Author: Phil Mistry is a photographer and teacher based in Atlanta, GA. He started one of the first digital camera courses in New York at The International Center of Photography in the 90s. He was director and teacher of the Digital Days Workshops for Sony / Popular Photography magazine. You can reach it here.

Image credit: Photograph by Eric Kogan

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