“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.
A quarter of a century ago, you couldn’t walk the streets of Dumbo unless you had an armed guard. It has now become one of the most chicy-chic places in the metropolitan area. Multi-million dollar construction— oops, I used the wrong word. I used the m word when I should have used the b word. What a great place to make photographs. Join JoAnne and myself on the late afternoon/early evening of Thursday June 13th from 4-9. Check it out on the Adorama Workshop site. It’s all good, it’s all great, it’s all magic. One opening left for the rodeo workshop.
On one level, if photography is magic then Ann Raine was Houdini. She put forth an unbelievable effort in everything that she did, and she reinvented herself on at least five occasions. We had very long discussions on where she wanted to go photographically, and in many ways I encouraged her with all my heart and soul. That was on the right hand; on the left hand I explained to her that the overall perception of photography was losing some of its magical powers. With the advent of digital, the image became a little too easy and a little too common. Having said that, the cream always comes to the top, and Ann was on the top and in many ways still is. Both JoAnne and I think of her all the time. There’s no doubt that she’s no longer in this consciousness but she has progressed and moved on to a finer one. Her great work will always be here; it will be archival in the truest sense of the word and last to infinity. The next time I see you, you are going to have to lead me on your workshop.
Please see the beautiful tribute from Warren Rosenberg.
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.
Born 3/18/1929, traveled to the Superbowl in heaven on 4/27/2013.
Every once in a while when I’m chopping wood I miss a piece by an inch or two. It’s usually a relatively small piece and I hear myself screaming “Don’t give up on it!” and it’s the Coach telling me to never give up. With one minute left in a game, whether we were ahead by 20 points or behind by 30 points, he would tell us “Always give one hundred percent all the time and when you don’t, that’s the time you’re going to get hurt. Not only physically, but mentally. The bottom line is, failure’s not an option; never give up and always give one hundred percent.” and the words absolutely, totally ring true. On Sunday morning, I gave a workshop at Grand Central Station and traveled across town to Bryant Park and Times Square. When I got the students together I told them “I’ve got bad news for you. I don’t want to be here, I don’t want to teach this class, and I was a millimeter away from just packing up and leaving.” (I had gotten there 2 hours prior). Then a voice came to me; it was the Coach and he told me “Big Joe, complete your responsibility and teach this class.” I told the students that because of what he taught me, it was going to be the best class I would teach all year. I think that it was. Thanks, Coach; you’re still motivating me and you will continue to motivate me until I join you.
This is extremely difficult for me to write. We have been photographing Richie Haven’s on and off over the years for a long time. We stopped counting the number of concerts a long time ago. Richie on stage was one of the greatest performers of our time. Back stage he was a just a regular guy. The last time he called me he asked permission to use three of my photos in a new book. I will have a follow up blog and a tribute to Richie in a few months. Sing in Peace Brother…
I spoke with a NASA scientist a few years back and we were discussing radio telescopes and he explained to me that a note played or sung will go on for infinity so I know Richie’s music will continue on…
I received an assignment from HBO to do an illustration on hand guns in America. There were approx 357 children killed with handguns the year of the assignment. The photo editor gave me carte blanche to do anything that I wanted to the photo. What you see is a multiple exposure done in the studio with a real 357 magnum with 6 dyna-lites against a clear background. Person holding the gun was silhouetted, then I rewound the film and shot the american flag on top of the silhouette (effectively, there was no exposure there) and by over exposing the corners by 2-3 stops I blew the flag out and just left the hand with the American flag wrapped around the gun. The photo won a few awards when and when people see it today they presume it was done in Photoshop, but it was done in the camera. Entitled 2nd amendment (I never put titles on work).
Two days ago the Senate knocked down the gun bill. Photographic blog, not a political blog…I must watch my language. They should all blank, blank, blank and be totally ashamed of themselves. How much money do they take on the side from gun manufacturers and the NRA? We are taking the greatest country in the history of all mankind and we’re turning it into a third world country. The English couldn’t beat us, the French couldn’t beat us, the Germans couldn’t beat us, the Russians, the Chinese, the Koreans. We’re going to destroy ourselves. anybody who knows me, I love to be happy but with what’s going on today in this world, I’m sorry, we need to get with the program. Go out and make a photograph of your wife…your children…we’ve got enough guns. If you want to shoot something, make a photograph. For the record, I own 6 guns so I am not ANTI-guns. Camera: NikonF 55micro and a grease pencil. Exposure: 1/90th of a second at 22 and 1/90th of a second at 5.6.
The tulips are coming up, seems like the snow is almost gone and the Indy cars are starting to run. Remember what I said, one camera, one lens, all the time. Here’s a shot from the old days with one of my assistants. Count the cameras. Thank god for assistants. Would hate to be looking at his MRI today. On a recent Formula One, which in many ways is much more difficult than the Indy 500, I used 2 cameras and 2 lenses. Two Canon 5D Mark III, one 80mm-200 f/2.8 zoom and a second 5D Mark III with grip and 400mm f/5.6 and carrying a 1.4 extender. Gitso Monopod and 6 lexar cards, 8 gigs up to 32 gigs Simple. Keep it simple. The photograph on the bottom was named by Sports Illustrated as the third best photograph of all time of the last 100 years.