To all the ships at sea, I have an assignment today; no other words.
Back in the day when I shot Leica, and used TriX and modified my carriers so you can print absolutely the whole negative with no cropping everything had to be done in camera. I studied the zone system for years and effectively was unable to use it because I stopped shooting 4×5. I one time watched Gene Smith, spend three hours making one 8×10. On my best day in the darkroom my best print on a scale of 1-10 would be a 2.25. I did better with Cibachrome. I was able to print Cibachrome and do a reasonable job. When the world threw me a huge curve ball and digital photography became the answer to everything, I was caught with my proverbial down because I thought I was an elitist there was no way I would go digital. I held out as long as I could and like a reformed alcoholic, I scream the praises of digital today. On or about the same time there was photoshop 1 or 2 Anybody who knows me knows I have the utmost respect for the Adobe programs but because of the way I shoot and the number of hours I work, I was not going to attempt to become proficient with photoshop. Maybe it’s a cop-out but I don’t think so. I have interns and assistants that are extremely capable in the program. I tell most of the students that 99% are only cleaned. I very rarely attempt to make major changes in my images. I go back to the old school.Well, now I’m ready to move into the last part of my career as a fine art photographer, a filmmaker and director and Nik comes along and makes me crazy. I finally got the programs installed and decided to play with one digital scan. That was at 8:30 in the evening. By 3:30 in the morning I had tested all of the software and was starting to bleed from my eyes. While bleeding I had a huge smile smile on my face. I was like 14 all over again – my first day in a darkroom. These programs are absolutely awesome. They are simple, straight forward and easy to use and even an idiot like me can make them work. I don’t impress easy but I’m impressed.ThanksJoe DiMaggioAll Photos ©2011 Joe DiMaggio All Rights Reserved
As a photographer and a film maker, I have the ultimate obligation to make my clients happy. They pay me and they expect to get what they want, when they want it, and how they want it. That’s my job and I do the best possible job I can do. Of course, you always try to push the envelope or think out of the box, all of those cliches, which I interpret as putting a little of your own style into the visual medium. As a mentor and a teacher, I feel the same obligation. I take it very seriously and sometimes I go back to the studio and I wonder, “Did I do a good job, did they get it, were they able to make a better photograph?” Sometimes you know, sometimes you don’t. In every workshop there are a few photographers that shine brighter than the rest. They’re not necessarily the best photographers, but they put forth one hell of an effort. Ann Raine is a California girl who’s been transplanted to the East Coast. She loves Arabian horses and she loves photography. Attached you’ll find three of her photos and a link to several more. I’d like to thank Ann for the kind words. She motivates me to do a better job. As the truth be known, I constantly learn from the students. The student becomes the teacher, and the teacher becomes the student.
“I’ve attended numerous photo-walk workshops with Joe DiMaggio over the last several years, and I keep returning for a number of reasons: Great mentoring, interesting photographic venues, but most importantly, every time I participate in one of these day-long events, I feel a freedom to experiment, a license to open up and go-for-it (photographically speaking.) I am not as concerned about getting every photo perfect as I am in pushing the limits of my skill and knowledge, by practicing and experimenting to ultimately get the great photo!”
Every person’s life is marked with milestones. One of my milestones at age 18 was photographing a folk group by the name of Peter, Paul, and Mary. It was one of their early performances. I was totally blown away by the music and mesmerized by Mary Travers. She was a blonde with a beautiful frame, beautiful hair, and a great voice. It just doesn’t get better than that at age 18. On September 16, 2009 the world lost one of the most beautiful people that God put on this planet. I loved her then, and I love her today. All of my original negatives are somewhere in photo limbo. I have been looking for them for a long time. Eventually, I will find them. I am posting this particular photo, which was an original black and white and then made into an orthochromatic print on a textured matt paper which I painted over a very long time ago. The original black and white hung over Mary’s couch for many years. Hopefully, sometime in the near future, I will do another tribute to Mary when I find my original negatives.
© Joe DiMaggio
There is an old adage when all else fails tell the truth. It’s something I genuinely believe in. The new word today is “transparency” – tough to stay up with the brave new world! About 20 years ago I had a conversation with one of the most powerful women in the world of photography. She took a $50,000 corporation and turned it into the second largest agency in the world and sold it for upwards of thirty-million dollars. I said to Sally, I guess I’m 20 years behind the time and she said that it was the exact opposite and that I was way ahead of my time. It was a wonderful compliment but I’m not sure if I actually believed it. When the technology came for the motor drives, I did not embrace it. The next big leap was auto programming and I did not embrace this. Shortly afterwards, autofocusing came out and I did an interview and was quoted as saying my clients want me to focus the camera – I’m not a grandfather yet! Need I say, I did not embrace that technology either? I’ve been making photographs on film for 5 decades. When digital came out I did not embrace it. Is it possible that one man could be wrong about so many things? I’m afraid the answer is yes.
Of course, in 2011, I utilize all this new technology. There is no doubt that when you use these tools properly you’ll be rewarded. Wiebetech has given me an opportunity to not be 20 years behind the times but actually to be 20 years ahead of the time. The combination of the big three – The Double Barreled Derringer (ToughTech Duo), The Little Gun (RTX220-QR) and the Big Gun (RTX800-IR) give me a tremendous advantage in filing, storing and retrieving all of my photographs and films. It is definitively the best technology today and to be honest, probably for a long time to come. Wiebetech has allowed me for the first time in a long time, to be ahead of the curve. I strongly recommend that every advanced photographer and filmmaker incorporates this technology to protect their life’s work. We all travel different roads and have different motivations and needs but with your solutions we will have choices. Thanks so much. Keep up the great work.