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.
While teaching a class that started at Grand Central Station and ended at Times Square I had one camera and one lens, a 16-35. Did not imagine I’d be doing any portraits. Even though the 16-35 is not a portrait lens, this is an environmental portrait of a gentleman from London. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
To all the ships at sea, last week ranged from brutal to inconceivable, and back to brutal cubed. I was suffering from negativity, which was probably my doing because I allow things to bother me. Well, enough of that. A young man showed up on our doorstep with a number 2 pencil and a tape recorder and interviewed JoAnne and myself. Separately, as a matter of fact, which I thought was a pretty innovative way of doing it (“no white lies, you’ll get caught!”). There’s something about a consummate professional; there’s an aura about them. In my experience, they’re bright, intelligent, soft spoken, and honest. I’m talking about Michael Hartnett. I normally have some minor defense mechanisms in place, but Michael was able to have me drop them in about ten seconds. Great interviewer, again I was totally impressed. We talked a little bit about some of his art and he showed me this beautiful illustration with which I fell in love. Then he explained that he makes them in the woods. Makes a record photograph and within hours it disappears. The initial concept threw me for a loop. You mean I can’t take it home? I can’t put it on my wall? It’s not archival? It’s here today, gone tomorrow? Then I gave it a little bit more thought and realized how brilliant it is. Just like us; here today, gone tomorrow. He’s written a novel called Tales of Allamucha; expect to see it on Amazon in the upcoming future. What a breath of fresh air! This is Joe DiMaggio signing off. PS, he was writing an article on JoAnne and myself for The Milford Journal. Check out the July issue.
“I hate artist’s statements. They are pretentious, and I am pretentious enough without adding to it. I have read too many statements about artists who are “exploring psycho/sexual boundaries” or artists who are “Concerned with the tension between x and y…” These statements are more for the artists, to convince themselves that they are creating something meaningful and of value. I reality you buy art because it connects with you, or it matches your couch, not because the artist was “depicting the hypocrisy of gender roles in a post modern America”. I am much more interested to hear what you think about my work, then to tell you what I think about it.”
There are very few things that motivate me to the point of screaming, jumping up and down, or possibly wetting myself. I was introduced to a young man by the name of Thann Clark and I went to his webpage. What you’ve read above is his artist’s statement. I am totally blessed that most of my friends are artists, whether they use oil, water, pen, pencil, cameras, blues, jazz, poetry, or ballet; they’re all artists. I strongly recommend to Thann that he should get his statement copyrighted and trademarked, because if he doesn’t, I’m going to steal it. This artists statement could go on from here to infinity. I’m throwing a photo in here just because I want to. Just for people to keep records, the above gorilla photograph was the number one selling greeting card for over two years. Canon EOS, 600 f4, 1/100th at f4, ISO 100, Gitzo monopod.
Why would anybody put up this genre of photograph in June when obviously the photograph as taken in the dead of winter? That’s funny, I asked myself the same question. There are two basic reasons: the first is I just found this photo I had been trying to find for the last few years for my book, so I scanned it and now you have an opportunity to see it, and the second is I just liked the feeling. It makes me feel warm. Two lovers outside a coffeehouse in Greenwich Village. Very cold and snowy night. One grabbed shot, EOS camera, 85 1.2, ISO 200, 1/60th at f2. No rhyme or reason, I just like it.
If it’s May, it has to be the Indianapolis 500. This photograph was selected by Sports Illustrated as the third greatest photograph in the last 100 years of the 500. They reproduced it in the centennial issue and on their website. That’s the good news, the bad news is they never asked me. Does the word “copyright” mean anything to anyone? Who said “power to the people”? No, it’s “power to the corporation”, step on all the people. In this society, we all have to play by the same rules. Actually, I think someone wrote that in the Constitution. To my friends; go out and make some great photos. Capture history with a camera. Life is good, life is great. Health and happiness to everybody, even SI.
Dennis Wheeler is one of the finest artists in America today. He has to his credit: his work is in the permanent collection in the Museum of Modern Art, and his artwork is in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC. When he talks about Andy, he’s not talking about Andy Rooney; he’s talking about Andy Warhol. He also has 40 Time covers to his credit. He’s one of the smartest and most creative people I’ve ever met. Extremely bright, creative, and quite humble. If you ever have an opportunity to be in Hillsdale, stop by his gallery. It’s absolutely awesome. And he makes a mean martini! How bad could it be?
We’ve heard the comments; there are no new photos. We’ve heard it numerous times. My god, I’ve probably even said it myself. It’s our job as photographers and filmmakers to always try to come up with a new variation of a theme, and every once in a while we may stumble across a fine photograph. After a certain period of years, we may even be able to predict that it will indeed be a fine photograph and not just another snapshot or cliche number 377. As photographers and artists, all we can do is continue to try. If you have a moment, please stop and check out my new Adorama TV video, subscribe to my blog, TV show, and all the other good things.
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.