I remember my mother and father taking me to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Sitting on top of my dad’s shoulders and looking at the giant floats, the beautiful colors, the great music, and here we are a couple of years later spending the day at Coney Island at the Mermaid Parade. My new policy is one camera, one lens, two batteries, two cards. This time, I chose to test a new lens, a 135 f/2. Last year’s parade, I used a 10-22mm. Obviously, a huge change! But, changing it up is a good thing. What I’m about to say is not a scientific fact. It appeared to me for every person in the parade, there were 3 photographers. I could be off, but I’m not that far off.
Photos © Joe Dimaggio
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.
Every once in a while you come across a very special person. One of my student’s Ann Raine, has had an extremely versatile career. Her travels have taken her all over the world. She’s as comfortable in a high level meeting with a Fortune 500 Company as she is making environmental portraits on the streets of NYC. I’ve recently asked Anne to become one of the the new board members for our DiMaggio/Kalish Photographic Retreats, along with Brian Struble and Larry Malang.