A long time ago and a galaxy far, far away…I had another life. Coming out of college in 1991 as another jobless English major of the Reagan Era, I needed to find a way to fund my dream of staying I school and becoming an English professor. I ended up a Physical Education teacher in Oyster Bay, NY. There I met a smart-alecky kid named Devon Knight who I immediately liked. I became friendly with his father, another teacher at the school…coached hockey…and earned a living in a way I never had anticipated. I left the school after a few years to pursue other interests and lost contact with the people I knew there…12 year-old Devon included.
Flash forward to about 8 months ago…I get an email from Devon, now a Pratt Photo Grad…food blogger and full-fledged “grown-up”. We strike up our acquaintance anew and when he was looking for work a few months ago I took him on as my assistant. Devon’s food blog… Corner Store Restaurateur…which was a collaboration with a friend has begun to fall into the digital abyss and I have asked him if he would like to contribute to making SundaySauce…His photo contributions will be an extension of my Gratuitous Food Porn Series…We will call his pictures “Devon’s Money Shots”…
Here is his account of how he and I began our unique relationship (and one of his food photos); it’s a story I have told many times in the intervening years…
Gratuitous Food Porn: Devon’s Money Shot 1
Andrew tells the story better than I do but I’ll tell it anyway…In the 5th grade my underdeveloped ears caught word that our Phys Ed teacher, and my hockey coach at the time, was going to be teaching us our first sex education class that day. My reptilian brain immediately starting racing, plotting, wondering how I could turn this small piece of intel into an epic situation which, in my mind, would lead to all out pandemonium, a screaming red-faced teacher and an eventual ticker tape parade in my name.
For hours and hours I crafted, molded, cared for and nourished the “question” which would lead to my elementary fame, and finally the hour struck.
I marched in the classroom with my perfectly parted brown haired bowl cut and what I can safely assume is the same “shit’s about to go down” grin I’m wearing as I write this. I sat anxiously, writhing in my seat for my turn to unleash what was sure to be the funniest sex ed question ever crafted by a young mind. Finally, my time had arrived. My hand shot up half way through the sentence “does anyone have any questions”, “Devon, do you have a question?” I rose and stood, staring the teacher dead in the eye the way duelers of the old west did, “Let’s do this” I thought to myself, and the question followed…”Mr. Scrivani, what do you think is a better for masturbation, Vaseline or nothing at all?”
…Without even a whisper of clear space in the air a serious and very anatomical response whipped back in my direction. “Well, Devon, I guess that depends on weather or not you are allergic to petroleum products.” My plan was foiled, the guffaw lost, the ticker tape parade canceled. My Sex Ed./Phys Ed teacher/hockey coach, Andrew Scrivani, had successfully turned my illusion of grade school fame into complete rubble. “Damn” I thought as I slid back into my chair to the snickers of my classmates…to this day I still think it’s one hell of a question.
Today, I work for Andrew as his assistant…I help him on set, digital tech, help manage his stock, look for freaking parking in the East Village and whatever else the day brings. I have recently focused my own photography on food and I share recently taken photos with Andrew. Our student/teacher relationship having long since been established he has no problem being brutally honest with me.
So, recently I send him the image above with the same childish mindset of “oh man, he’s not ready for this masterpiece” and once again my delusions of grandeur were thwarted. In a curt email he quips,…”I like the dappling on the background, not so much on the food”. “Damn”… I still think it’s one hell of a shot.