I was brought into the digital world kicking, screaming wetting my pants. The concept of digital was unacceptable. I now have over 40 terabytes of 0’s and 1’s. It’s frightening. My IT specialist, my studio manager, and my partner all insist that I take this blog down. We’re going to do it!…against my will. It’s like an iPhone; I can’t stand it, but I have to have it. So I am going to leave you temporarily with the new link and I am going to share one or two photos with you. While looking for a photo for my memoirs I stumbled across this farm in South Africa. Beautiful light, beautiful color and it’s not 5 degrees out. To all the ships at sea, please stay warm I wish you all happy lives. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
In a world that’s moving faster than the speed of light Weir McBride was a true Renaissance Man. He had a unique ability to take the most ego inspired personalities and get the most out of them. He had a great sense of humor and the ability to be a great friend on many different levels. Weir was a man who could motivate me to do things I normally would not do photographically.
On one hand we had nothing in common and on the other hand we had a lot in common. We both were in Chicago in 1968 and we both photographed Mohammed Ali. He transcended just being a great photographer – he was a great communicator as well. All in all, Weir was an extremely honest, sincere and dynamic person. If he disagreed with you, he took the gloves off and told you to your face, not behind your back. When Weir spoke I listened and I will miss those conversations. To be honest I’m in shock right now, not something any of us had expected.
On a recent trip to Cuba I was using my Singh Ray Gold-N-Blue Filter and I was thinking about Weir as I made the shot. I will think about you Weir up in heaven and if I get a small tug on my ponytail, I’ll know it’s you. A lot of people really loved you Weir, as well as had great respect for you. I’m one of those people and my partner JoAnne Kalish is one as well. We’ll all miss you Rest in Peace – you made a difference.
To all the ships at sea, approximately two months ago I did a program at B&H Photography called all things in photography are a compromise. The one thing I would like to make perfectly clear; that is not an excuse for me not to do my best. For that matter, it should not be an excuse for anyone to not do their best. Sometimes your best isn’t really up to code. Attached to this blog is a link to a short film on the great, beautiful, Pete Seeger. It was a work in progress and it was never designed to be published in its present format, but given the fact that Pete has moved to the next level of consciousness, please forgive my one-handed blind shooting. No, I did not intentionally cut his head off but the real sin is the microphone was not tweaked as it should have been. Translated: I had no assistant, no sound man, no PA, and no tripod. However, none of those things are an excuse. https://vimeo.com/85390064
What I’m about to say is my opinion, not fact. Pete Seeger will not rest in peace. He’ll be going to the pearly gates and will be carrying his banjo and singing and will never stop. As a matter of fact, he may try to reorganize part of Heaven. Personally, I’ve never met anyone who ever had a bad word to say about Pete. The reason for this is he was truly a gift to the world. A true visionary before it was popular to be one. There are very few men who would have the audacity, and nerve to march into Washington and stand up to the bureaucracy. I for one am not sure I’d be able to do it.
I have always been in love with Pete and what he stood for. I did a short film with Pete and like all films I do, there was no script, outline or storyboard. I took the advice of Albert Maysles and I was a fly on the wall. As I was filming this 90 year old man picked up a sledge hammer and it whistled past my ear. I got on two knees and tried to frame him winging that hammer. Now it may have only been 6-14 inches from me but I thought to myself Pete please don’t make a mistake and I certainly was not worried about my camera. Like everything Pete did, he was just right on. He went back to his microphone and didn’t miss a beat finishing up his song. What I thought also thought interesting, was that he showed up with his entourage – him and his truck and left the same way. There are no proper words in webster’s unabashed dictionary to describe Pete Seeger. God made just one and there will never be another that will take his place. With all due respect to Dylan, Springsteen, Sinatra, Presley, and John Lennon, they all might eventually be replaced but that will never happen with Pete. I consider myself an extremely lucky man to have spent time with such a true American Hero. I will make an honest attempt to put together another very short film on Pete.
So Pete keep playing your songs and when you need to break a sweat chop some more wood. Subconsciously I think that’s why I love to chop wood myself.
We are all motivated by a myriad of passions – likes, dislikes, and history. The list is infinite. When I made a decision to call my Editor and tell him I wanted to photograph the inaugural U.S. Grand Prix in Austin Texas he thought I was out of my mind. From a business standpoint his concerns were valid. So exactly why did I find it necessary to invest a week of my life into that specific race? A few reasons were I never photographed Vettel, Hamilton, or Alonso and last but not least, Michael Schumacher and I knew this would be one of his last races. When he decided to return to Formula One I called a friend, Lewis Franck a great race car writer in the U.S. and we both agreed this was not a good idea for Michael to make a comeback. We were both genuinely concerned about his well-being after his retirement from Formula One, as it’s very hard to make a come back. Both Lewis and I were extremely happy that Michael’s second retirement from Formula One left him healthy and happy. Anyone who lived on the ragged edge of F1 and the inherent dangers of open-wheel racing at upwards of 200 mph for him to leave the sport healthy and happy with seven world championships – it just doesn’t get better than that. The minute I heard the word of Michael’s skiing accident my heart stopped and I immediately called Lewis. Race Car fans, let us say a prayer for Michael that he comes out of this okay.
On a lighter moment… at pit stop practice, Michael’s F1 tub very gingerly touched my shooting vest at 55mph it did get my attention (we were both on the proper side of each other’s line.)
Every once in a while the Moon and the stars align and life is good. Over the last twelve years I’ve been using WD exclusively for my studio, gallery, learning center, office (you get the idea). ABSOLUTELY! You are cordially invited to join me on December 11th at the B & H event space and a good time shall be had by all. To all the ships at sea, see you there.
WD will have a product expert on hand to show off new features on their current drives as well as field the most difficult of questions.
DiMaggio has been part of the American Photo Popular Photography Mentor Series. He’s hosted several ABC’s World of Photography television shows and hosted numerous Canon Photo Safaris. He’s hosted Internet TV’s Visual Impressions television show and completed numerous episodes showcasing his skill as a world renowned photographer
Recently, Sports Illustrated selected one of DiMaggio’s photos as one of the third greatest photos in the last 100 years of the Indianapolis 500.
visit Joe’s website to learn more.
The other day I was privileged to have lunch with a very dear friend of mine. Don Sergeant, an extremely bright, creative and dynamic Vietnam war veteran, whose main responsibility in this world is to save lives; a beautiful man. When we finished lunch, I stopped by The Forge Gallery and said hello to another dear friend, Phil Rachelson. Phil is not only a great artist, he also has the ability of generating great designs in his gallery. He displays the artwork in a way; it’s pleasant to the eye and geometrically sound. It’s a special Christmas show, to all the ships at sea, if you have an opportunity stop by and support the artists and the gallery. Great art at great prices. -Joe D.
Back in the day, when I was wet behind the ears, I had an editor introduce me to Jimmy Breslin. It was like meeting a god. Some people are great writers and then there are great writers that are born with an amazing talent; Breslin is one of them. There are no words that I could say about John Fitzgerald Kennedy, that would be remotely as poignant as one of the greatest articles ever written. So this blog has none of my photos and very few of my words, but let me be clear on one thing, other than my personal losses that have affected my life and my family, the two dates that I will never forget are November 22nd, 1963 and September 11th, 2001. To all the ships at sea, it’s time for me to shut up.
Newsday’s Jimmy Breslin wrote the following article for the New York Herald Tribune in November 1963.
Washington — Clifton Pollard was pretty sure he was going to be working on Sunday, so when he woke up at 9 a.m., in his three-room apartment on Corcoran Street, he put on khaki overalls before going into the kitchen for breakfast. His wife, Hettie, made bacon and eggs for him. Pollard was in the middle of eating them when he received the phone call he had been expecting. It was from Mazo Kawalchik, who is the foreman of the gravediggers at Arlington National Cemetery, which is where Pollard works for a living. “Polly, could you please be here by eleven o’clock this morning?” Kawalchik asked. “I guess you know what it’s for.” Pollard did. He hung up the phone, finished breakfast, and left his apartment so he could spend Sunday digging a grave for John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
When Pollard got to the row of yellow wooden garages where the cemetery equipment is stored, Kawalchik and John Metzler, the cemetery superintendent, were waiting for him. “Sorry to pull you out like this on a Sunday,” Metzler said. “Oh, don’t say that,” Pollard said. “Why, it’s an honor for me to be here.” Pollard got behind the wheel of a machine called a reverse hoe. Gravedigging is not done with men and shovels at Arlington. The reverse hoe is a green machine with a yellow bucket that scoops the earth toward the operator, not away from it as a crane does. At the bottom of the hill in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Pollard started the digging (Editor Note: At the bottom of the hill in front of the Custis-Lee Mansion).
Leaves covered the grass. When the yellow teeth of the reverse hoe first bit into the ground, the leaves made a threshing sound which could be heard above the motor of the machine. When the bucket came up with its first scoop of dirt, Metzler, the cemetery superintendent, walked over and looked at it. “That’s nice soil,” Metzler said. “I’d like to save a little of it,” Pollard said. “The machine made some tracks in the grass over here and I’d like to sort of fill them in and get some good grass growing there, I’d like to have everything, you know, nice.”
James Winners, another gravedigger, nodded. He said he would fill a couple of carts with this extra-good soil and take it back to the garage and grow good turf on it. “He was a good man,” Pollard said. “Yes, he was,” Metzler said. “Now they’re going to come and put him right here in this grave I’m making up,” Pollard said. “You know, it’s an honor just for me to do this.”
Pollard is 42. He is a slim man with a mustache who was born in Pittsburgh and served as a private in the 352nd Engineers battalion in Burma in World War II. He is an equipment operator, grade 10, which means he gets $3.01 an hour. One of the last to serve John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who was the thirty-fifth President of this country, was a working man who earns $3.01 an hour and said it was an honor to dig the grave.
Yesterday morning, at 11:15, Jacqueline Kennedy started toward the grave. She came out from under the north portico of the White House and slowly followed the body of her husband, which was in a flag-covered coffin that was strapped with two black leather belts to a black caisson that had polished brass axles. She walked straight and her head was high. She walked down the bluestone and blacktop driveway and through shadows thrown by the branches of seven leafless oak trees. She walked slowly past the sailors who held up flags of the states of this country. She walked past silent people who strained to see her and then, seeing her, dropped their heads and put their hands over their eyes. She walked out the northwest gate and into the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue. She walked with tight steps and her head was high and she followed the body of her murdered husband through the streets of Washington.
Everybody watched her while she walked. She is the mother of two fatherless children and she was walking into the history of this country because she was showing everybody who felt old and helpless and without hope that she had this terrible strength that everybody needed so badly. Even though they had killed her husband and his blood ran onto her lap while he died, she could walk through the streets and to his grave and help us all while she walked.
There was mass, and then the procession to Arlington. When she came up to the grave at the cemetery, the casket already was in place. It was set between brass railings and it was ready to be lowered into the ground. This must be the worst time of all, when a woman sees the coffin with her husband inside and it is in place to be buried under the earth. Now she knows that it is forever. Now there is nothing. There is no casket to kiss or hold with your hands. Nothing material to cling to. But she walked up to the burial area and stood in front of a row of six green-covered chairs and she started to sit down, but then she got up quickly and stood straight because she was not going to sit down until the man directing the funeral told her what seat he wanted her to take.
The ceremonies began, with jet planes roaring overhead and leaves falling from the sky. On this hill behind the coffin, people prayed aloud. They were cameramen and writers and soldiers and Secret Service men and they were saying prayers out loud and choking. In front of the grave, Lyndon Johnson kept his head turned to his right. He is president and he had to remain composed. It was better that he did not look at the casket and grave of John Fitzgerald Kennedy too often. Then it was over and black limousines rushed under the cemetery trees and out onto the boulevard toward the White House. “What time is it?” a man standing on the hill was asked. He looked at his watch. “Twenty minutes past three,” he said.
Clifton Pollard wasn’t at the funeral. He was over behind the hill, digging graves for $3.01 an hour in another section of the cemetery. He didn’t know who the graves were for. He was just digging them and then covering them with boards. “They’ll be used,” he said. “We just don’t know when. I tried to go over to see the grave,” he said. “But it was so crowded a soldier told me I couldn’t get through. So I just stayed here and worked, sir. But I’ll get over there later a little bit. Just sort of look around and see how it is, you know. Like I told you, it’s an honor.”
Hi to All the Ships at Sea,
Let’s see if I got this right-I don’t like Photoshop, right? Right. I don’t like software where you can manipulate images…right? Right. I believe everything should be done in the camera…right? Right. Never crop, right? Right. Less is more, right? Right. Digital will be just like 8-tracks, it’ll never last. So let’s check out the reality, I guess it’s impossible to be right all the time.
The photograph of this young lady catching a cod-fish off the coast of Prince Edward Island, up until today, was flat, muddy, indistinguishable and almost two stops under. There’s a technical term in photography for a photo like this…it’s blank blank blank blank. Well through a little bit of work in Photoshop and NIK software it came alive. The young lady’s name is JoAnne Kalish.
All the Best,