I drove into the main square of Saint-Paul-de-Vence the evening before I was due to take his picture. As I past a café I noticed sitting at a table facing the street a black man. He was surrounded by five white young ladies all leaning forward towards him wide eyed as he spoke. I recognized the man almost at once as James Baldwin. The girls were young enough to be college students. When I saw him the next day I asked him about it and he said that yes indeed they were American college students. He said he liked that particular café and went there often. The group spotted him and he invited them to sit with him.
We spoke little during my time with him as is often the case when I photograph people. I concentrate on how to arrange the scene beside and behind my subject and where to place the camera. Mostly I allow people to compose themselves, with an occasional, "Just a little to your left...yes, that's it, there." And if the sitter looks too fixed I move away from the camera or ask a question which usually causes people to re-arrange themselves.
I remember James Baldwin saying that when the revolution came he would be out there in the streets with his carving knife. When Occupy Wall Street takes hold I wonder if it will be like that.