A Rosy Future

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To all the ships at sea, I had an old friend call me and ask if there was anything I could do to help his daughter make a few contacts on the west coast. That old friend was Gary LaFranco. Gary is an extremely fine photo instructor at Sussex Community College and has maintained an ongoing photo business for the last 25 years in Newton, New Jersey. Over the years he’s been extremely kind to me and now I’m going to take the opportunity to see if I can repay him just a little bit. Gary, Amanda LaFranco, JoAnne, and I had a meeting on Monday morning and discussed the lay of the land in Los Angeles. Obviously, we concentrated on the positive aspects of a relocation to the city of angels. There’s no doubt that it takes a little bit of getting used to, but Amanda wants to be part and parcel of the world of film. The last time I checked, Hollywood was still the film capital of the world, followed rapidly by New York, Toronto, and the list goes on. As soon as I finish this blog, I’m going to write five or six emails to some good friends in LA and see if we can give her a little bit of a jump start. She’s an extremely bright and dynamic young lady with a great work ethic and dedication to her art. I can’t wait to see her credit on a feature film. Hey, another good day! Two in a row? That’s scary.

http://amandalafranco.wix.com/website

 

Joe D.

The Silver Star

The Vestibule Cover

One of Jess’s Books

This blog should have been put up June 6, 2013

There are many people who judge their wealth by how much money they have in stocks, bonds, bank accounts, the size of their automobiles and how many summer homes they have. I’m not going to question them for the simple reason I am one of the richest men in the world. There are only 8 or 9 people who can verify that.  I became this wealthy because of great friendships.  The oldest living friend I have , since  Will Barnet has gone onto his studio in the sky at 101 years old. It now brings me to Jess Weiss my second oldest friend. The great part is he’s alive and well.  The first time I stepped into his office I noticed there was a letter from President Franklin D. Roosevelt thanking him for his bravery and next to the letter was the Silver Star, Purple Heart and several other Medals which unfortunately, I’m not familiar with.  That was approximately 20 years ago.  I said to Jess, “my God you’re a hero” and he looked at me and said,  “no I’m a coward.”  Like most true heroes they never speak of the war. They lived it and bled with it and it’s imbedded in every fiber of their being forever and probably will remain with them to the next level of consciousness. He explained he saw 3,000 men die that day and during the balance of the war about another 7,000 men.  He never elaborated on why he received all the medals he did. Jess was there for me when my mother, father, my son and my brother died. His words of wisdom, his teaching allowed me to go on and not give up. That translates into an infinite amount of money. Obviously the money is meaningless but the friendship is worth everything. So on the 69th Anniversary of the D Day Invasion I take my Beret off to my dear friend Jess Weiss. Monday he will be attending a dinner held by the French consulate and will be giving a short speech on Omaha Beach. I hope they’re not disappointed because Jess is not only one of the bravest men I know, but one of the humblest as well . God is truly in him. The French Government has just bestowed this Medal for Jess’s outstanding service 69 years ago on Omaha Beach.  Thank you my friend.  All Americans and all Frenchmen thank you.

Knight Medal of the French Legion d'honneur

Knight Medal of the French Legion d’honneur

©DiMaggio/Kalish

©DiMaggio/Kalish

David Lynch and  Jess Weiss (Transcendental Meditation Conference)

David Lynch and Jess Weiss (Transcendental Meditation Conference)

Dedicated to Annie

Hi to All the Ships at Sea,

I never put a name on a photograph nor do I put titles, and for the most part, I don’t dedicate photographs to anyone. Last night JoAnne and I had the opportunity to go visit an old friend, Ann Raine. Ann is one of the most beautiful, lovely, wonderful people I have ever met. In a world before multi-tasking, she was an international horse woman, potter, smart banker, business woman and more recently a great photographer. We went to say hello and we did. She is as beautiful today as when I met her 10 years ago. So I dedicate this photo to Ann, she inspired me to take it. It’s not my usual style. Thanks for the inspiration.

Dedicated to Ann

Dedicated to Ann

All the Best,

Joe D

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Wine Gets Better with Age

“I was a young lad when I met Joe and JoAnne, I was a junior (maybe) in high school, showed up at their waterfront house to interview. Thought JoAnne was his daughter, good thing I kept my mouth shut and didn’t say that. They’ve become more of my second family rather than a job, and that’s why I never truly got fired. I processed black and white film and printed,(my 14-year-old asked “whats a darkroom?”) stamped color slides for days on end, drove cool cars, traveled and sat ringside at the Cooney Holmes championship fight. Fished, moved them to the sticks and idealized all they did (almost All). Love you guys dearly, I don’t blog but that’s all”

Andrew started with both JoAnne and myself when he was 15 years old. He loaded my cameras at heavyweight champion fights. Over the years, we all became very close friends and now the relationship has grown into absolute family. He has an extraordinary family, beautiful wife, children and is extremely successful in his business. He has taken photography, his original passion, to a whole new level. He has a brutal schedule. His passion is so strong, that he will drive two hours in one direction, shoot for half an hour and drive three hours back in traffic. Not only to make a great photo, but it becomes a zen like experience.

Of course I told him he was out of his mind to do that. Thank God he doesn’t listen to me all the time. To this day, if I called Andrew and said, I have a 6 figure assignment and I need your help, he would come out of retirement, (there’s no doubt in my mind) he would drop what he was doing and join me anywhere in the world. If I told you once, I told you a thousand times, I’m the luckiest guy in the world. The following two photographs, well they need not be explained. Photo tip for today: take what you really like, turn it into a passion. You’ll make great art, and maybe take a little stress out of your life. His black and white photos motivated me to go out and shoot some serious black and white.

This image is shot in raw, processed w. silver efex pro and Lightroom. Nova Scotia, Peggys Cove, Lighthouse.
Andrew_Coast_Stormy

©Andrew Elrich

©Andrew Ehrlich

All the Best,
Joe D

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Old Friends, New Year, Life Itself

©Joe DiMaggio

©Joe DiMaggio

Hi to all the ships at sea,

I would like to wish everybody a healthy happy, new year (hey idiot, it’s the 15th-where have you been?!) Sorry guys, the last 45 days have been brutal, and I’m not going to go there today. I decided to take Saturday off, and I went to visit my former English professor/football coach, who has just been admitted to the Stoney Brook VA Nursing Home. It was the best 60 seconds and the worst 19.5 minutes I’ve ever spent in my life. I’ve loved this man for 50 plus years, and I’ve resolved myself to the fact that will be the last time I get to see him. I drove 7 miles to see one of my former assistants, he showed my three photographs that blew my head off. They were just gorgeous. He explained how he did them,why he did them, not that he had to; the photographs did not require any information, they moved me from a very negative place to a very good place. 15 miles west and an hour later, I went to see my oldest friend Pat Nap and he looked great! In the day he was a great football player and a world-class amateur wrestler, and ya know what, he still looks great today. OK-this moves us another hour and a half down the road and I stopped by to see my spiritual advisor, Jess Weiss. We had three or four emails in the last week, and three or four phone calls. His lovely bride of 38 years passed away four weeks ago. I went to see him because he’s my hero. The first time I walked into his office, above his desk was the silver star and ten other medals. I told him he was a true hero. He explained to me that he was a coward. He felt guilty that he left Omaha Beach alive during the D-day invasion and thousands of his brothers did not. Jess has written five books, I strongly recommend reading one of them or more…he’s not only a true hero, but he’s a visionary. He is one of the most spiritual people I have ever met. His 97th birthday is in two weeks and looking into his eyes, I saw a 20 year old man. Thank God for Jess. My life partner JoAnne Kalish reminds me that I’m a photographer and filmmaker and that my blogs should be about photography and filmmaking. This blog IS about communication and respect and history. That’s what photography is. I remember someone telling me, life is hills and valleys. In twelve hours I went from the highest mountain to the lowest peak and back to the highest mountain, so I guess that person was right. LIFE IS PRECIOUS. Please spend every second you can enjoying what you have.

Healthy, happy new year
Joe D

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All Great Men are Born in March

Over the last two decades, I’ve had the extreme pleasure of calling Bill Shatner a dear friend. Out of all the people I know, Bill Shatner is probably one of the most sophisticated, well-read people I’ve had the opportunity to meet. If you had an opportunity to see Bill in Boston Legal, you would believe that he was on camera for all 44 minutes. He’s that strong and that powerful a figure, and the combination of his improvisation and his unique voice adds so much to that particular character. He may only be on screen for 10 of the 44 minutes, yet he literally steals the show. William has the ability to laugh at himself. I one time made a mistake and complimented him on his huge comeback. He came close to taking my head off. “Comeback?” he said, “I’ve never left!” The strength will carry him on and on. I’ve had an opportunity to watch him direct. He has great style and never raises his voice. He doesn’t have to. He is a true entrepreneur, and an extremely giving individual who supports several different charities. The flagship charity being the Hollywood Horse Show, wich will be held again this year on April 30.  Along with his beautiful, creative, intelligent wife, Elizabeth (an accomplished world class horse woman and fine arts photographer), the two of them will continue to ride from sunrise to sunset. Last but not least, with all due respect, he is an absolute lunatic behind the wheel of an automobile. The man just loves to race! I can’t wait to see him on Top Gear. I’ve had the pleasure of racing with him, and like everything else in his life, he’s competitive with & doesn’t like to lose. Happy Birthday, William! I know you’re going to continue the ride for many more years.


Your friend, Joe D.