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.
I started my career with Nikon and rangefinder cameras, proceeded to the “F” then signed a contract for the Olympics and switched to Canon. In recent years I played with the Sony and Fuji. The reality is that nowadays all cameras and lenses are great. It’s almost impossible to buy a bad one. I made up my mind I would never promote a product I did not use. For that matter I rarely promote products and 95% of the time I don’t even mention the camera or lens – it’s just not that important. As a journalist and sports photographer everyone’s looking for a cover or a double truck opener. I’ve been blessed by making many covers over the years.
Recently I went to visit my friend Simon and he took out what he said was one of his favorite books. I looked at the cover and it was my photo – a beautiful one! It has turned out to be one of my favorite covers because I love and respect Simon. As truth be told, he brought me into the digital world 20 years ago. Both my partner JoAnne Kalish and I have generated 40 books that are not available on Amazon or sold elsewhere. They are available only to close friends and great clients. They are all done by AdoramaPix. Let’s be clear I’m not a Schill for them and am not paid by them. I’m totally amazed at the quality of the paper, the binding, and the cover material. They are truly phenomenal. Did I mention, their prices are extremely affordable! One of these books in the year 2000 could cost upwards of $2,000-$3,000 to print. It never ceases to amaze me what you can do for under $100. There is a good possibility you won’t do Gone with the Wind or From Here to Eternity. What you should do is gather some of your finest images, put them together and go onto AdoramaPix webpage and have some fun designing your book any way you see fit. Your friends and family will love them. By the way, don’t confuse images of your wife with your girlfriend – yes, it’s an old Groucho Marx joke! I be bad… If you’re looking fora fun title I did a short photo book called No Rhyme or Reason.
I’m always amazed that when working on a project, that will last the better part of a year, you start taking things for granted and that’s a bad thing. I’ve been unofficially Bobby Kyle’s photographer for the better part of three decades. He never ceases to push the envelope with his music, as applicable to his lyrics and guitar riffs. The reality is he’s awesome!
On this still unnamed album, by Juicy Baby Records, Bobby’s added one of my favorite instruments – the saxophone (reference my brother Hugh Brodie.) After one postponement Vanessa Collier was there laying down some tracks on two of Bobby’s new songs. Vanessa is a super star, plays all over the world and is in demand. She’s a great sax player, vocalist and has an unbelievable knowledge of the technical aspects of the music business. While I was there, she laid down a track, came into the control room and discussed with Bobby several different arrangements on how to get the most out of the riff. Not an accident that her cap said Berkeley School of Music. This young lady is the real deal! She’s a mega star in the offing. She’s critical, tight, precise and wants the take as perfect as possible (20 or 30 takes.) That’s the great news. The not so great news is that with 6 hours with Vanessa, I was only able to shoot a total of 12 minutes. However, it was 12 minutes I won’t forget. Hell, I will also remember the remarkable hours I spent just listening! Bobby’s taught me a lot about music and Vanessa blew the top of my head off! Fuji XT II and 16mm f/1.4 , 50mm f/2. Thanks Bobby, Vanessa and Alan.
It’s a hell of a stretch that Jim and I turned out to be good friends. We have a lot of differences. He’s a Republican – I’m a Democrat, he’s a farmer – I’m a photographer. He’s got a crew cut – I have a ponytail. I never understood why he didn’t get an earring! Yes… just trying to be funny!
The Quinn’s came here in the late 1800’s. At one point, I think they owned most of the mountain I now live on. He has a work ethic that is absolutely ferocious. Rain, sleet or snow he’s always out there working the land. Jim’s got a large beautiful family. He grows some fine tomatoes (I’m learning) and he’s got a really fine apple orchard. There aren’t any more cows but he’s feeding a lot of cows and horses with his hay. He always has a story to tell and I always take time to listen.
He’s a true American and by this I mean no bullshit, straight-forward and if you don’t like it – it’s not his problem. Equipment used Fuji X Pro II 16mm f1.4 and 50mm f/2
At midnight, dinner time, Jimmy the Glove lucked out and found a parking space right in front of Original Joe’s at 144 Taylor Street in San Francisco’s Tenderloin. He parked and was getting out of the cab when a drunk opened the back door and got in. Before Jimmy could say anything, the guy said, “Take me to Joe’s,” and passed out.
“Okay,” Jimmy said and spun the meter. He got out of the car, pushed through the glass doors, sat down at the counter, and ate supper. After about forty-five minutes he walked out of the restaurant, got into his cab, leaned over the back of the front seat, and shook the guy’s shoulder.
“You’re here.” Jimmy said.
“How much?” asked the guy, blinking and looking around and seeing the red neon sign. Italian food. Steaks and Chops
Jimmy pointed at the meter and said, “Fifteen seventy-five.”
The guy got out, gave Jimmy a twenty and said, “Thanks. Keep the change.”
James “The Glove” Vetter was originally from Cleveland, and though he became a Giants fan, at heart he truly loved the Cleveland Indians and told endless stories about the 1948 and 1954 World Series. He was the heart and soul of Frisco’s City Cab for many years, running the gas line and offering wisdom to generations of drivers. He’s now Fading the Main in the big stadium in the sky.
Larry Doby was the second black player in the big leagues and the first in the American League. He played for Cleveland from 1947 to 1955.
This tune is for Jimmy, and thanks to Jesus Portillo.
The question is – “Who would you want to be in a foxhole beside you?” My obvious answer would be JoAnne Kalish, my second choice would be my dear friend Bill Shatner and my third choice would be Peter B. If it came to a photographic foxhole, it would be Peter B. He was rough, tough, rowdy, crazy and a no bullshit person. My kind of guy! You always knew where you stood with Peter B. He was straight-forward and to the point and if you had to go into federal court on a copyright case and needed a witness he was the man! The other side of Peter B was a sweet, lovely, wonderful caring person. Last but not least, one hell of a great photographer! A little known fact about Peter is that when he started out he was deathly afraid of heights and so was I! I would always tease Peter and ask him if the only thing you could photograph has to be in 30 feet of cement and steel and be something that did not move?
Approximately 5 decades ago Peter showed up on my doorstep wanting to borrow a Gitzo tripod and 15 foot aluminum pole, a Nikon F and a 16mm lens with an extended cable release. I supplied him with all these tools and he went out to photograph the torch at Lady Liberty. I joked with him and told him I wanted half the copyright but that sure as hell was not going to happen! About 10 years later I snuck up in the torch at Lady Liberty and made my own photograph. Peter threw a fit and wanted to know, how the hell I got up to the torch? I explained to him he wasn’t the only photographer in New York with a New York City Police Press pass. Peter will be missed by his wife Sharon, his two children Ricki and Gabe and several photo editors that used to meet at the Algonquin hotel names withheld.
Over the years my dear friend Peter B pissed off a lot of people including a lot of magazines, ad agencies and Fortune 500 companies. He was the number one advocate of copyright protection. If someone infringed on his copyright, watch out because they were going to lose and pay for it! Ninety-five percent of the time he was 100% right! We all screw up the other 5%. Peter B was always there for me and I tried to be there for him. There is no doubt he’s climbing the parapets in heaven and trying to get even higher for that very special photograph. Peter B. say hello to Gene Smith, David Douglas Duncan, Eisie, John Dominis, John Morris, Ernest Haas, Ralph Morse Bill Epperidge, and Carl Mydans to name a few.
My agent in California tells me when someone asks me how I am I should tell them I’m fantastic, I’m great, super, fabulous! That would be bullshit today!
My dear friend for over 4 decades has taken his height photography to the next level. I’m pretty sure he’ll get one helluva laugh from these photos. No one’s gone higher than Peter, especially with that 25 foot pole he had. The others were done just in fun. I’ll revisit Peter B. Kaplan in a week or so when I get my head screwed on straight.
While fighting in fox hole to fox hole in the 70’s and 80’s working for any publication that would take me, I finally had the opportunity to go from SPORT Magazine to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. During that time, I traveled the photographic road with Gentleman Gerry Cooney. Who knew, that with all the days, weeks, months and years that were put in, it would ever come to fruition and turn into a beautiful well-written hard cover book by Gerry Cooney and John Grady.
I had the honor and pleasure of doing the many photographs cover to cover. The sooner we get closer to publication date I will follow this up.
After returning from being out shooting during the ice storm I came inside for a break from the cold. I needed something hot to drink and since I haven’t been drinking coffee lately, I had a cup of green tea. Like every good photographer, I washed out my cup. I was blown away with the light coming in from a nearby window. I grabbed my camera and made a photo. I wasn’t happy with it so I took out a LED flashlight and placed it on a small bean bag. I cranked up the light and Voila! You know what they say, “f/2.8 and be there!” There are many great photos out there so open your eyes, your heart, and mind.