When it Rains, it Pours

© JoAnne Kalish

© JoAnne Kalish

While I was in Australia, I decided to do a walk about. Invariably, when you start a trek like that, you’re going to run into inclement weather. In a rain forest very close to Cairns, Australia, JoAnne captured me during a storm on my walk about. Ok, if you don’t believe that, raise your hands. Wow, thank God you all raised your hands. JoAnne was shooting an ad campaign and needed a model for a test and used me. Never going to be on the cover of GQ! It was shot right outside the studio, the studio lights were still inside, obviously being protected by the rain????? It’s a special type of rain, it’s called hose rain. Sometimes a photo isn’t what it appears to be. But I do try to keep my sense of humor. I did get the hat and coat in Australia. It’s pretty amazing stuff, it’s an oil cloth. I hope it still fits. To all the ships at sea, keep your powder dry, your legs crossed, and a bit of lip gloss never hurt anybody.

 

To Blog or Not to Blog

©Joe DiMaggio

©Joe DiMaggio

Hi to all the Ships at Sea,

As many of you know first hand and the rest on the internet, you know I was dragged kicking and screaming into the digital world. When you are weened on Tri-X D76, and always striving for a number 2 negative, or shooting a cover with Kodachrome25 (25!)… So when a very bright, intelligent, dear, lovely woman, my friend Monica, basically told me to get with the program or get out of the business. I listen to people I respect, it may not have been my idea but in the final analysis it’s a good idea. On three or four occasions I did blogs on Adorama pix, and I’d like to do another one. Ken Lieberman, is probably the greatest color printer in New York City and has been that way for a long, long time, and his prices are equal to his quality…and then some. If you need a photograph for the museum of modern art you wanna go to Ken Lieberman-in my opinion, for the majority of “us” other photographers (my English teacher is not happy) If you want to treat yourself to a 20×24, have one made at Adorama Pix. I think, I know you will be blown away. On that note, I just opened the book I did on Formula 1 and it totally blew me away. I sent a digital copy to Dennis Wheeler, who IS in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art and he absolutely loved it. In a few weeks I will share the book with you. So a big thank you to Herman, John and all the people at Adorama Pix. I don’t know how they do it, but they do great work.

All the Best,
Joe D

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Sylvia, Queen of Soul Food, RIP

Approximately three decades ago, I had the pleasure of going to Sylvia’s for the first time with Gordon Parks. Suffice to say, it was a great meal, great conversation, and Sylvia was just so warm and beautiful. Two years later, American Airlines called me to do a photoshoot at Sylvia’s. I walked in; she not only remembered me, but gave me a hug and a kiss. Over the years, I’ve sent hundreds of my friends from all over the world to Sylvia’s. But I was a bad boy; I hadn’t seen Sylvia in over twenty-five years. I walked in with my son Dylan and Dylan’s close friend. They were on their way to Vietnam, so I thought I’d take them out for dinner before going to the airport. I walked in, I didn’t see Sylvia, and my heart stopped. I went to the young lady behind the counter and asked “Is Sylvia here” she said “Yes, she’s sitting in the back.” As I walked over to Sylvia, I smiled and said “Sylvia, you probably don’t…” she stopped me and said “Hi Joe, how are you? Haven’t seen you in a long time.” Hugs and kisses for everybody, including Dylan and his friend Moe, and of course, a great meal. I planned on seeing her in about a month, but I guess that’s not going to happen now. Maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll see her on the other side. Sylvia, have a great trip.

Joe D.

Vito Russo 1946-1990

© Joe DiMaggio

To all the ships at sea, working photographers make photographs for many reasons. One of the number one reasons is money, and it’s not a great motivator. Once every four, five, or six years, you have an opportunity to meet not only a great and powerful person, but a genuinely beautiful human being and you’re asked to do an environmental portrait. In this particular case, that person was Vito Russo. In my opinion, he was possibly the most powerful person on the planet, when it came to being an advocate not only for gay rights, but for pushing the envelope to seek a cure for the dreaded HIV/AIDS. I would love to tell you that we were extremely close friends, but that would be a gross exaggeration. I met him two or three times before I photographed him, and as with all great relationships, my love for him was predicated on respect. Last night at about 10:30, with my eyes starting to drip blood as I was editing 80 gigs of video (throwing out the unacceptable footage), I turned the TV on and there was Vito. Somewhere towards the middle of the documentary, up popped one of the 300 photos I had taken of him over the years. As a filmmaker, I was extremely proud that they held that photo and then zoomed in, and for HBO it was shown for an eternity. Then again, they used it at the end of the piece. Twenty-four years ago, the last thing I remember is Vito and I in a warm embrace at the end of the shoot. Photography is more important than money; it’s history, visual literacy that will not allow us to forget. Sometimes, even I forget the power and beauty of a still photograph.

Peak Action

©Joe DiMaggio

I had an opportunity to teach at the University of Arizona. It afforded me time in the desert, in the dead of winter to photograph some interesting characters. Here’s a young man taking a short cut. I had no idea he was going to do this. The lesson of the day is to make sure your camera is ready to go. Pre-select shutter speed, aperture, color balance, ISO, type of metering, and exposure compensation. The next part of the equation would be experience and some would say luck, I believe you make your own luck. This photo was taken with a 35 mm camera, a 100mm Macro lens, ISO 50, shutter speed 1/500 f/4, single exposure. 

PRE-PRODUCTION, EXPERIENCE, EXECUTION

Gitzo, whats old is new again

The problem is with making anything world class, tremendous quality,and so reliable that it can outlast most of the patrons that use it. Like an old pair of socks or an old work shirt, I have a problem discarding old friends. Approximately  in 1972, I purchased a large heavy Gitzo tripod. It virtually went around the world with me. It went to several Olympics, a World Series, major advertising assignments, and at the Apollo Soyuz. That tripod held a 400mm, a 600mm, and a 800 mm, and was the Rock of Gibraltar. About 10 years ago my studio manager complained that the tri pod was too big and to heavy. I procured a smaller Gitzo and two Manfrottos. They are fabulous tripods, but I missed the big Gitzo. Who knew 40 years ago, that much of my work in 2012 would be with DSLR’s for videos, I certainly did not. I decided to resurrect my first Gitzo as the new technology. I gave a call to Chris Brunngraber. I purchased the new 504 HD bridge, of course I did not tell him I was going to put it on the old Gitzo, and soon found out that my tri pod had a 150mm yoke. Two days later Chris sent me a 75mm adapter. WOW! how cool is that?! I am now able (with the help of Manfrotto) to breathe new life into an old tripod. To all the ships at sea, obviously I am not taking any thing away from the new technology. Let’s just call it a green thing. Wow I’m acually keeping up and recycling. Hell it is all good, go out and make some new photos, that’s the most important thing.


 To all the ships at sea II, in the lead photograph there are two absolutely fantastic people Ron Thompson- senor tech adviser for Nikon ” and a lot more.” Ralph Morse- the best LIFE magazine photographer when it came to the space program, and much more. A separate blog will follow

TIME Magazine Assignment


I had a half hour off the other day. Decided to just look through some of my old TIME magazine and Sports Illustrated assignments and I stumbled across this photo that I did for them to celebrate the opening of Giant Stadium. I was totally blown away when I heard they were going to build a new stadium. It seems like yesterday they just built a new stadium. Of course, a businessman friend of mine explained that it’s all about the super boxes and the Fortune 500. Well, considering my only interest is between the goal line and the goal line, a super box just doesn’t do it for me. If TIME asks me to go and shoot the new one, it’s gonna take me a little longer to get to the birds’ eye perch.  See you at the game!
Joe D.