Here's an excerpt from AmeriCollector, where David Chesanow describes chatting with Florence on the phone about the author Nelson Algren, and when he learns Algren was a friend, he asks her last name:
“It’s Shay,” Florence said. “My husband is the photographer Art Shay.”
Those who believe in coincidence – and even those who don’t, and who are sure that all good things happen for a reason because cosmic forces are at work – can imagine my rare moment of speechlessness and delight!That’s because Art Shay – one of whose photos is on the dust jacket of the first edition of “A Walk on the Wild Side” – is one of the greatest photographers of the last century and this one as well. Even if you don’t know Art by name, you probably know photos he has taken: Jim Brosnan’s mitted hand extending from a vine-covered wall at Wrigley Field (like the Arthurian arm in the lake holding Excalibur) to make a catch; Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa blustering from a podium with his own giant image as the backdrop à la “Citizen Kane”; National Guardsmen poised in front of Chicago’s Conrad Hilton Hotel (cheerfully emblazoned with “Welcome Democrats”) before confronting angry protestors at the 1968 Democratic Convention.
Eventually, Chesanow starts a correspondence with Art Shay, and declares: "I can attest to the fact that he is as 'real,' down-to-earth and captivating as the pictures he takes."
Art Shay adds his own essay to the AmeriCollector package, including his thoughts on collectors:
One of the glories of selling to collectors is usually not having much of a clue to their likes ... This week I’m pulling up some prints of Life magazine photos of society ladies Hula Hooping on Michigan Avenue in the sixties, as well as some prints for a prominent legal firm in Chicago collecting Chicagoana. They like my picture of the first Mayor Richard Daley exultant on a grandstand in front of City Hall, celebrating the 1957 Chicago White Sox pennant with his young son, now mayor of Chicago himself.
For more from both Chesanow and Shay, click here.