To all the ships at sea, approximately two months ago I did a program at B&H Photography called all things in photography are a compromise. The one thing I would like to make perfectly clear; that is not an excuse for me not to do my best. For that matter, it should not be an excuse for anyone to not do their best. Sometimes your best isn’t really up to code. Attached to this blog is a link to a short film on the great, beautiful, Pete Seeger. It was a work in progress and it was never designed to be published in its present format, but given the fact that Pete has moved to the next level of consciousness, please forgive my one-handed blind shooting. No, I did not intentionally cut his head off but the real sin is the microphone was not tweaked as it should have been. Translated: I had no assistant, no sound man, no PA, and no tripod. However, none of those things are an excuse. https://vimeo.com/85390064
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…
Rodman. I was at a Jazz Club one night and I listened to this man and he could blow a mean, mean horn. I invited him to the studio, and he showed up about a week later. What I was looking for was total simplicity. For lack of a better term call it black on black and then highlights on the cheek and horn with fingers. One light. Two black gobos. One small mirror reflector. Camera was Canon F1, Lens 200mm 1.8, PlusX. 90th of a second at 2.8.
It’s a little known fact that JoAnne and I had an illegitimate son, by the name of Dylan (just joking.) Please understand across the studio just came a comment…”You’re out of your mind what are you saying?.” So let’s just be honest, I am out of my mind, I agree, it’s just the nature of the beast. Dylan at a very young age had a babysitter, by the name of Dennis Wheeler. Dennis’s art is in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art. In my humble opinion he is one of the finest artists of our time. In those days we lived on the sea and rainbows were relatively commonplace. They usually happened after it rained…I never quite did figure that out. One day Dylan decided to paint rainbows. He painted, I don’t know, somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty different rainbows. I think JoAnne said to him one day, “Why don’t you sit outside on the stoop and maybe you can sell the rainbows to people who pass by.” (You can tell who the mercenary business person is in our small company) That’s why she is the brains and the beauty.
Dylan sat outside with the rainbows as people would come by and pick them up for 2 cents each. The timing on this was approximately ten months after Musician Doug Stegmeyer went on to playing bass on a different plateau. There was a knock on the door and it was Peggy Stegmeyer, who lived down the street. In her hand was one of Dylan’s rainbows. She very softly said, (I am paraphrasing) “Joe, this is the first time a smiled in almost a year.” I’ve been known to say, all the great things in the world are free and occasionally a great piece of art may only sell for 2 cents. But it made some one very happy.
Many of my friends know I have had a love affair with film for the last thirty plus years. Twenty years ago, I walked into a cocktail party with approximately 150 people. Out of the 150 people I could only see one; just one. It was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. I worked my way through the crowd of martinis, and white wine to get to a gentleman who was drinking a cup of coffee; two creams, two sugars. His name is Hugh Brodie. If you don’t know the name you may know the music. His cousin was Ella Fitzgerald. He was brought up in the south with a saxophone in one hand a painter’s brush in the other. Half Cherokee and half African American; he’s got to be cool. Approximately six or seven years ago, my son Dylan did a short film on Brodie which came in first place in the Black Bear Film Festival. It actually opened the Black Bear Film Festival. Subsequently, Dylan and I have been collaborating on a feature film. The working title is “The Life and Times of Hugh Brodie.” Another possible title is “The Black Cowboy.” Many people have complimented me on some of my photographs of Brodie and I try to explain to them that I have very little to do with the particular photograph. Brodie is so magnificent, so beautiful, so honest, straightforward and sincere. It’s F8 and show up. Okay maybe it’s F2.8 and show up. We are now in the process of cutting and scoring the film. The great editor Victor Goretsky will be doing the editing and the scoring will obviously be Hugh Brodie. We’re looking forward to having it wrap somewhere in the fall of 2011 maybe earlier.
Hugh Brodie and the Cosmic Ensemble will be playing at The Falcon on July 2nd.
Dinner Begins at 5 pm, Opening Act 7pm, Headliner 8pm.