The phrase (expression? It sure ain’t a word, not by itself) maître d’ is a short form for maître d’hotel, master of the house. We know it as head waiter. This guy is the epitome of what I imagine the maître d’ to be, in a good and proper Niçoise restaurant.
There’s a story behind how this kind of photo gets done…
A few years ago, I got interested in the idea of street photography. Unfortunately, it’s a tough business; even though it’s entirely legal to take candid photos of people in public, it’s a very difficult thing to actually do.
Imagine going up to a random stranger and saying “hey man, I’d really like to take a photograph of you because you look … (strange, different, interesting, scary… pick you adjective). I’ve certainly done it a few times before, but usually I’m in too much of a rush to sit down, have a conversation with the subject, and do it properly.
(My photo of Robert yielded impressive results, as I found out he graduated from my high school in Toronto – go Jarvis – the same year I was born.)
And so, passing by this fellow tending his restaurant, along the zone pietone of Vieux Nice, I stopped, told the girls I’d catch up, and asked this fellow (Richard – I seem to be on a roll with “R” names) if I could take his photo. With a colleague chuckling at us, he acquiesced.