Award-Winning Photojournalist Bill Eppridge Dies October 3, 2013

Photographers Joe DiMaggio and Bill Eppridge © JoAnne Kalish

Photographers Joe DiMaggio and Bill Eppridge © JoAnne Kalish

To All The Ships At Sea

On October 1, my friend Johnny Iacono called to invite me to have lunch with him and some of our old cronies from Sports Illustrated.  He mentioned Bill Eppridge would also be there.  I said if Bill’s coming I would surely come as well, as I hadn’t seen Bill in a while. He’s one of my heroes.  A day and a half later I was watching the news and saw a portrait of Bill Eppridge on the screen and some of his photos and guessed he had passed.

Bill was a beautiful, human being as well as an extremely talented and great photojournalist. He was humble about what he’d accomplished over the last few decades.

For the record and for those not familiar with Bill’s work , Bill made the very enduring historic image of mortally wounded Senator Robert F. Kennedy lying on the floor of a Los Angeles hotel in June 1968. Mr. Kennedy had just won the California primary and was delivering an acceptance speech when he was shot by an Assassin.  Both JoAnne and I had an opportunity to go to his retrospective at the Fairfield Museum a while back. I had no idea about how many other great iconic photographs, that I remembered in my minds eye, that he had made. The depth and scope of his work at that show really brought it home about how important his contribution was as a journalist.

Dylan Michael Moore: A Great Beginning

About 7 years ago, I walked into Gleason’s gym on a very hot August day. The 3 rings were filled with boxers. 2 rings had 4 or 5 people in each one of them going through different protocols. There were 2 young men in a full-blown sparring session. I didn’t know either one of them. I walked over towards the red corner and started to recalibrate my white balance. A gentleman came over, drank some water, looked at me, and said, “If I have one loss, my career will be over and I’ll be back to being an electrician”. He was sweating profusely, he had beautiful intense eyes, and under his 2-day beard, a great smile. Little did I know then that James Moore was going to be the focal point for my film In This Corner. Why, you may ask? Because I didn’t go to Gleason’s to shoot a feature documentary, but rather a 15-minute teaching vignette on JoAnne Kalish’s action photography DVD. I’m pretty sure anyone who knows me has heard me say that the first rule of photojournalism/documentary films is never become friends with the protagonists. That is not your job. Your job is to record what they do in the most honest and sincere way with no prejudice and no rooting for a winner. I will share a quote with you from Cliff Edom. (Cliff Edom is the father of modern photojournalism and was, and in some ways, still is, the backbone of the University of Missouri School of Journalism photo workshop).

“Show truth with a camera. Ideally, truth is a matter of personal integrity. In no circumstances will a posed or a fake photograph be tolerated.”
     ~Clifton C. Edom
Sunday June 26 2011, I will remember vividly. That’s the day that I shut down the Lady Liberty ferry for approximately 55 minutes and later that day I attended James and Leanne Moore son’s christening. And he was christened with a beautiful name. Dylan Michael Moore. You just have to love the name Dylan Michael. At this point, I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that I have all the respect in the world for event photographers. It’s not something that I know how to do properly or particularly like doing. So please enjoy some of the snapshots of the christening party.
©Dylan Michael

I think I bent one of the rules.