This is NOT a Photo of Thomas Pynchon

Thomas Pynchon is a notoriously reclusive American author. He has hardly been photographed in the past 50 years. He is presently 72 years old, if you can believe that. There are photos floating around, some claiming to be Thomas Pynchon, and others saying they are not Thomas Pynchon. It is important to sort out the real from the fake here.

This is a photo of Thomas Pynchon, a portrait of the artist as a young man, except he's not in Dublin, he's in Long Island. But no matter, as genius knows neither time nor place.
This is a photo of Thomas Pynchon, a portrait of the artist as a young man, except he's not in Dublin 1900, he's in Long Island 1955. But no matter, as genius knows neither time or space.

Below is not a picture of Thomas Pynchon.
This is NOT a picture of Thomas Pynchon. It is NOT the first photo of him taken in 40 years. It does NOT show him on a New York street with his son in 1998.
This is NOT a picture of Thomas Pynchon. It is NOT the first photo of him taken in 40 years. It does NOT show him on a New York street with his son in 1998, at age 61.

There is a story behind the fake photo, but we need to go the Internet Archive to find it, else it’s lost to history.
A South African journalist decided to track down Pig Bodine. He had heard that Tyrone Slothrop was living in New York, married to a literary agent named Victoria Wren, a descendant of Teddy Roosevelt. He had a young son named Gottfried.
The reporter went to work. It turned out that Benny Profane could be located via a popular online service that claims to find anyone.
The reporter soon located all of the Mucho Maases in the US and finally found one of them in the Manhattan.
It gave a Manhattan address for one Wicks Cherrycoke.
He decided that writers are creatures of habit and that Pirate Prentice would probably pick his son up at school after school let out. He tracked down the school of Pointsman’s son and it turns out that it let out at 3:05 PM.
The journalist quickly recognized Roger Mexico’s tall, ungainly frame as a man walking hand in hand with his young won. The journalist had previously spoken to old lovers and friends of Captain Blicero, including Chrissie Jolly, now married to a Texas oil executive. She drew a sketch of what Herbert Stencil must look like now, based on her recollections.
The journalist snapped Kurt Mondaugen’s photo, and Fausto Maijstral freaked out. He ran across the street, holding his arm in front of his face. The journalist pursued him down the street, getting no more pics, and finally proferred his hand. Finally, Franz Pökler turned around and bellowed, “I don’t like my picture taken!”
All that trouble, and what he got is, of course, not a picture of Thomas Pynchon at all. It’s a photo of so many other folks, most of whom only walk the pages of bound books, but it’s certainly not a photo of the secretive master himself. Ah, the travails of journalist as paparazzi.

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