As a photographer, one of the first things you learn is eye-hand coordination. Your ability to look at 300 people or 7 people – front-lit, back-lit, and see the photo that you want to make. Before you even think about it, you’ve made 3 or 4 different photos, each one a variation of a theme, not just a motor sequence. Making back lit adjustments on the fly, always thing about where the next photograph is going to come. That’s the good news. The bad news can be all of those things that work against you – and you miss the obvious. It’s happened to me before, and I’m pretty sure it’ll happen to me again. You never want to have blinders on. You want to be open to new lighting, new composition, new stories, and new direction. Invariably, you will grow and your work will improve accordingly. While looking at this very beautiful young lady and preparing to do a very shallow, depth of field simple photograph, I look down and to my right and saw one eye and one sideburn and a little bit of a mustache. I said “Oh my god, could that be Melchior DiGiacomo?” I took the photograph, looked down, I tapped him on the shoulder, and he said “Joe D., just a minute”. I guess it’s like two chubby Italians meeting in the daylight, or is that two ships in the night? I can never get it right. The funny thing about it is I haven’t seen Melchoir in 30 years. And my God, nothing’s changed! It’s good that there is some consistency in this universe.
I’m always amazed by how live takes strange turns and bends. Life seems to have a mind of it’s own. The day JoAnne and I got married on the beach in Centerport, NY when one of my crazy neighbors crashed the wedding. Actually, it was two brothers, Doug Stegmeyer and Al Stegmeyer. Doug was the bass guitar player for Billy Joel, and Al was a worold class music engineer, and their mother Peggy was and still is a piano teacher – who buys Rainbows.
I photographed Doug many times over the years and Al and I became friends. Then, one day, Al moved away and I didn’t see him for a long, long time. You know how life is. It takes those strange turns. One day I ran into him and he was making camera straps, which I thought was kind of crazy. Al was nice enough to send me one. It’s called the UPstrap best damn strap I’ve ever had on a camera. Subsequently, I bought a few more. If you need a great camera strap, check out Al’s strap.
Al’s still making straps, Peggy’s teaching music, and Doug’s playing bass in heaven.
Photos ©JoAnne Kalish
Al Stegmeyer’s non-slip straps –