I wish I had this image in color. An art director would call this scene impossibly “busy,” but that was the essence of this woman. The visual stimulation in her apartment was overwhelming. This gypsy woman’s brightly colored floral dress contrasted with brightly colored kid’s wallpaper, a rug-mural of Jesus, a floral bedspread, a Japanese mural, and more. As if that weren’t enough, she grabbed a flower pot and cradled it in her arms just before I snapped this image. She certainly led a colorful life.

I shot most of the images in this series with a Nikon F2. Photographic historians may remember this venerable camera. It’s exposure meter was a “match-needle” system. As you pointed the camera in different directions, a floating needle in the right side of the frame you move over numbers that indicated the brightness of the exposure. The photographer would adjust the shutter speed or aperture until the needle was centered on the exposure scale. I remember this scene being almost impossible to meter. The needle jumped around every time I moved the camera an inch! The Nikon F2 was my first professional-level camera. It served me faithfully for more than 20 years.