Somewhere in the 70’s, I coined the phrase Shooting From the Inside Out. The concept is simple; rather than being a voyeur, the concept is to embed yourself into the photograph. When you’re close you need to get closer, when you’re tight you need to get tighter, when you’re wide you need to get wider. We tend to concentrate so much on f-stops, apertures, hyper-focal-length distance, tripods, big new lenses, high iso, and how sharp can you make it. We forget what we’re actually doing. The person you photograph is the key, not the subject. Their relationship with their environment is paramount, not your interpretation of what they are doing. A minimalistic concept: One camera, one lens, embed yourself into the area without becoming intrusive. Your physiological attitude, your eyes, your smile, your honesty. Your ability to give the person you are photographing their space and still be able to come up with a striking photograph. In my opinion, this is what its’ all about. In writing this it becomes obvious that there are contradictions to what I’m saying – I get it! My mentors W. Gene Smith, Alfred Eisenstaedt, John Morris, John Dominis, Cliff Edom all taught me that less is more.
To all the ships at sea, 50 years ago today the Apollo 11 crew landed on the moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. It’s a little known fact, I worked on the Apollo program as a photographer photographing the PLSS and the amphenol connectors. Can you imagine me in a clean room, no pony tail, and no earrings in those days? I switched to a beret then worked with Ron Thompson, Ralph Morse and Arnold Drapkin.
P.S. where’s the auto focus? where’s the IBS? Where’s the unlimited exposures? Where’s 20 frames per second? Where’s 15 stop exposure latitude? Where’s 4k?
f-8 and be there with 36 exposures. A different view.
Remember, I can’t take you to the moon but I can take you to Cuba.
Okay you can take a ruler to my knuckles I certainly deserve it. Repetition you have to be kidding – me? Get a larger ruler.
I’m the luckiest man in the world. I have great friends. The majority of them are world class artists, musicians (artists), writers (artists). It’s all good. My agent tells me don’t use the term back in the old days. With all due respect I remember. Artist Dennis Wheeler 50 years ago this week put out an award winning cover for TIME Magazine titled TO THE MOON. Ever since then Wheeler has generated many great covers, illustrations, advertising campaigns & his true love of painting and dimensional collage and photography. The fact of the matter is, he’s a world classic devotee of the world of art. He’s shown all over the world and his artwork has been chosen to be part of MOMA’s permanent collection not once but twice.
I strongly recommend if you’re anywhere near Hillsdale, NY check out his Gallery and you will be in for quite a treat. His talents are immense but his ego is controlled. He will spend time with you and you will remember spending time with him for a lifetime. I’m honored to call him my friend. P.S. Don’t forget to ask him about Andy Warhol.
Happy 4th of July! A Birthday for the greatest Republic and Country known to man. I hope and pray we’ll come together and make it better for everyone. Not just the half, of the one half percentile.
Twenty years ago, I attended an absolutely wonderful party. It was our friend Bobby Kyle’s 40th birthday party. Now twenty years later his beautiful, lovely, partner Michele threw him a 60th birthday party. Bobby’s 60th was off the chart, well over 100 people spread out over five acres of land. Quite a diverse group! There was great music, food, drinks and also some fireworks to fit the occasion. Everywhere you looked there was love. I sang happy Birthday to him and begged him to let me in the band. He looked at me, kissed me on the cheek, put his head down and shook it three or more times. He even rejected me on his birthday! I guess he never saw the Godfather. That’s just another story.
Years ago, I coined a phrase – “Shooting from the inside out rather than the outside in.” The concept is a simple one. I will share a story that one of my mentors, the great photographer, father of modern photojournalism, W. Eugene Smith told me. Smith, once explained to me his thought process behind his famous LIFE Magazine photo essay on the coal miners of Wales. He would first enter the mines without a camera and learn what they did, in the conditions they did it in, breathing in the same deadly air which caused black lung disease. After he gained their trust, only then did he bring in a camera.
On both our upcoming Trips we will have an opportunity to record and experience the heart and soul of the Cuban people. We will do everything we can, to have you experience Cuba as if you were part of their Society. Humanitarian Traveling is about meeting and learning about other countries and people and experiencing the world around us.
The tour is also perfect for non-photographers to join us as well, although it is customized for photographers.
My agent in California constantly to keep me to keep my big mouth shut. I think it’s hard to put both feet and elbows in your mouth at one time. It seems like I keep doing it. Maybe it’s the way I was brought up. I have the utmost respect for America, USA, the flag and the office of the Presidency of the United States. I may have respect but that doesn’t mean I agree with our President’s policy. The embargo on Cuba may have been valid in the 60’s however, my humble opinion is in circa 1975, it should have been obliterated. Cuba is not a threat to the United States and never was. The people that are suffering are some of the most beautiful intelligent, people on the planet. These beautiful people – the Doctors, Lawyers and candlestick makers make $27 a month from the Government subsidy. They call it communism. They are hardworking dedicated people. They genuinely do not deserve the punishment that we as a society impose on them. Yes that’s my second foot in my mouth! We will be offering our last two People to People tours to Cuba that we probably will ever do. Up till now we’ve done many. This program will be available to people serious about exploring the Cuban culture and giving a little of themselves back. This is not a program of luxury but a unique experience to learn from. I would ask every person who signs up for the trip to bring with them some over the counter medicine such as aspirin, Tylenol, vitamins to help out the Cuban people. These simple medications are like gold to them. We can afford it and it will make you feel good. For those interested in going it will be open to a very small group and we will need to know almost immediately. I hope the day will come when everybody can go without the state’s blessing. It’s a beautiful country! Joe D
A bit of sad news to start out a Monday morning is that Leah Chase passed away yesterday.
Both JoAnne and I met Leah Chase in New Orleans approximately 20 years ago. She agreed to open up the restaurant and kitchen for us so we could do a series of portraits of her in her renowned Restaurant Dooky Chase which was legendary and loved by many. If you were in town you had to go there and so many famous people did. The restaurant was known for serving presidents, as well as freedom riders. Martin Luther king, James Baldwin, Sarah Vaughan, Nat King Cole, Barrack Obama and George W. Bush all have eaten there. In a city operating under Jim Crow laws Dooky Chase became the only upscale restaurant where African Americans could gather.
Leah was totally dedicated to the restaurant and the community which she was very much a part of. She was considered a central cultural figure in the politics of New Orleans and the national struggle for civil rights. She was also a major promoter of art. During our conversation I mentioned to her that I had just done a cover story on Syvia’s restaurant in Harlem for American Way Magazine and on the owner Sylvia Woods. The two of them were sisters of a kind. Both trend setters and entrepreneurs in the food/restaurant business and in society. One in Harlem and one in New Orleans. Both women will be missed as they played a vital role in bringing people together.
Boxing has been in my wheelhouse for over 6 decades. While living in Greenwich Village, New York my grandfather would take me to the old Madison Square Garden and Sunnyside Gardens. Fast forward 6 decades and my love for boxing has turned into a love/hate relationship.
I just received a phone call from Gerry Cooney – and I could feel the smile on his face. He was so happy to see his new book GENTLEMAN GERRY, written by Gerry Cooney and John Grady with Photography by your’s truly! I was truly honored to do the photography for the book cover to cover! The book will be out mid June. To think I started out with Tri X black and white film then high speed Ektachrome with a 2 stop push, to the light gathering power of the new digital cameras whether they be Fuji, Sony or Canon… Gerry will be leaving for an international book signing tour and if you’re anywhere near the W Hotel on Saturday June 8th you can meet Gerry and have your book signed. It’s called Gerry Cooney Fight Night a YCS (Youth Consultation Services) charity event.
I’ve been working on a documentary called IN THIS CORNER a film on Boxing. The idea of the film was accidentally conceived when I was photographing the great SPORTS ILLUSTRATED photographer JoAnne Kalish on a combination interview on Sports and Action photography for a teaching segment for Adorama. That 10 minute segment morphed into an on-going film for one week, one month, one year and it’s still an on-going project. One of the protagonists of the film is Khalid Twaiti. I started photographing him at age 10. There is no doubt that in the next 24 months he will have a world championship belt.