Mike Phillips A Great Photographer & Friend

Mike Phillips © Joe DiMaggio

In 1971,  I flew to San Fransisco for a business trip and met Mike Philips.  Mike worked for Nikon USA, or EPOI which was Nppon Kogaku, Tokyo.  Mike was a tech rep and a photographer.  In a matter of hours we became friends. It was like two ships meeting at night.  Mike, was a great photographer – extremely minimalistic.  Back in the day, when photographers carried three or four cameras,  Mike carried one camera, one lens, and two rolls of film; and generated awesome images.  In those days, I found myself in San Fransisco at least 4 times a year and Mike would come to New York about as many times.  

Mike & Sharon © Joe DiMaggio

One day, Mike came to me with a concept for a book called Forbidden Fantasies. It was a book he wanted to do on Halloween in San Fransisco, when almost the whole gay community, dresses up in drag for the occasion.  Mike’s idea was to find an empty gas station and set up 3 different backgrounds, 3 different sets of studio lights, and have 3 photographer’s views of that particular day. I agreed to be one of the photographers. The first year there was a cancellation,  the following year I was in Greece for 2 months.  Unfortunately,  I never became part of this project. 

When you became friends with Mike, you automatically became friends with Mark Joseph, a great writer and former roommate of Mike’s from UC Davis College.  Mark wrote to To Kill the Potemkin,  Deadline Y2KTyphoonThe Wild Card, Overwhelming PursuitMexico Benti Uno,  and his most recent book Monte Rio – not necessarily in that order.   The other friend of Mike’s was Gary Nichamin, also a roommate to Mike and Mark. Three very talented and amazing friends that have always been very special to me.  Mike was best man at my wedding and was my son’s Godfather.  I loved him and I still do.  Sadly he passed away at a very young age.  For whatever reason and to this day, I really don’t know why,  our paths went in different directions.  I found what happened to our relationship confusing and upsetting for a long time.  I never chose for this to happen – it just did.  I regret not writing a chapter about Mike in my book Fill the Frame I just didn’t know how to handle my feelings, let alone write about what happened between us.  

Mike & Maggie © Joe DiMaggio
© Joe DiMaggio

Corvid-19/Why We Were Truly Prepared

Paul my mechanic © Joe DiMaggio

To All The Ships at Sea –

I was just interviewed by Martin Morris for the international publication ART & MUSEUM Magazine in the UK We talked about art, photography, and business. Then it came down to, how we were dealing with the pandemic Corvid-19. Under normal circumstances and most of the time, I tend to speak very quickly, and don’t give it deep thought. With this particular question there was a long hesitation on my part. I realized everything I’ve done in in the last ten years prepared me for how to fight the virus. When you are a freelance photographer, art director, cinematographer, your life is filled with what people call hills and valleys. If you’re fortunate enough you have very high hills and occasionally some big mountains. It’s not uncommon 1-2 months later you get a low and you’re in the Dead Sea. What you learn is how to deal with what is happening in your life, including your friendships, business, marriage, art etc. You either learn to deal or break out your Brooks Brothers suit and go out and get a 9-5, which in reality, a 5-9 job if done properly. I know about this because I spent 120 days as director of photography for SPORTS INC. I was ecstatic when those 120 days were over. In reality, nothing has really changed in our lives, other than our overall income has dropped 80%. Talk about a valley!

Now for the good news – you could eat off our studio floor, our VIP suite is in perfect condition, and our basement, for the first time in years, can be navigated. Also, a combination of JoAnne’s work and my work has been reinventoried, cleaned, and in some cases scanned. With any luck at all I’ll have a banner crop of tomatoes, basil, snap peas, tomatillos, jalapeños, and eggplants. All started from seed. My father’s got to be rolling over in his grave! I’ve also taken the opportunity to revisit my Art Nouveau lamps which JoAnne loves. See attached photos and YES, THEY ARE FOR SALE! Please Support the Arts!) I’ve made a few gifts for JoAnne for anniversaries, birthdays etc. Also I’m in the process of finalizing 40 photos that will be part of the gallery permanent collection at Sloan Kettering with a very specific theme which I will not visit at this time. I’d be jerking you around if I did not tell you that my psycho kitty Mia (just kidding) has been photographed just a few times and our 15 year old puppy Ace has had more than a few extra frames shot on him.

Spring by Joe DiMaggio
Spring by Joe DiMaggio

In the last 7 years with malice of forethought, I’ve not photographed any time/motion photos. For whatever reason I made a few frames the other day. Please check out my 30 second video on my You Tube channel on FIGHT THE VIRUS https://youtu.be/soZRLe-cLS0. Please subscribe to the channel and share with friends. Oops… almost forgot to mention that I had a 10 foot distance meeting with Dennis Wheeler and he turned me onto some of his new projects and encouraged me to play with some new art forms. Last but not least, I just cancelled my last 2 orders on the Fuji X-T4’s they are going to have to wait till December(ish.) Hope to see you on the road again… Lastly, looking forward to doing a Zoom lecture for Berks Photo Society in June.

Ace © Joe DiMaggio
Mia © Joe DiMaggio
Copper Lamp by Joe DiMaggio
Copper Lamp by Joe DiMaggio

Cinco de Mayo

To All the Ships at Sea

On the 5th of May 1987, in a small Mexican Restaurant in the East Village, my dear friend best-selling Author Mark Joseph threw one helluva party to celebrate his recent book “Mexico 21.” I called him to remind him and he told me he felt the book was flawed and wasn’t happy with it. I humbly disagreed. I read it in a day-and-a-half and I’m not a fast reader.

© Joe DiMaggio

Happy Birthday To the Great Photographer Lew Long

To All the Ships At Sea

© Joe DiMaggio

When you’re 20 years old you think you know everything. When you’re 25 you think your shit doesn’t stink. When you’re 26 you think you’re the only great photographer in the world. When you’re 40 you realize there’s a whole world out there. And, then you turn 45 and you meet Lew Long you finally understand what greatness is. Just a little bit of background…when Lew Long was 20 years old in WWII he went into Dachau, the Nazi concentration camp and his responsibility was not only to set the people free but also to record it with his camera. This is a true hero in the making.

Lew started his photographic career as the consummate professional. He Lived in Europe for many years and shot literally all over the world. He went to S. Africa before it was popular to go. He managed to shoot his finger off once. Thank God it was only once! When I look at Lew’s work it literally takes my breath away. Lew purchased a Rolls Royce, and the former owner was the actress Vivian Leigh when he lived in London, he owned a bar in Manhattan, and set Miami Beach on fire. Here’s a link to a not so short video which will give you a handle on my dear friend Lew Long. It’s worth it! https://vimeo.com/55138676 HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY FRIEND. Thanks for everything you taught me.

95 years old today and going on 55!

Lew Long’s new digs
JoAnne & Lew © Joe DiMaggio
© Joe DiMaggio

Fight the Virus video by Joe DiMaggio – http://Fight virus. https://youtu.be/soZRLe-cLS0

“Recalling His Adventures as a Working Photographer from the 60’s to present day. The book describes Joe’s career working for publications such as SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, TIME MAGAZINE, HBO, rapidly followed by a brilliant career in Corporate and Advertising.  It’s also about how photography has evolved over the years.”

FILL THE FRAME goes into detail about the many people he has photographed – celebrities, sports figure, as well as so many others and his experiences working with them, and the stories behind the photographs.


Book is $20 plus $5 shipping. You can pay by check, or credit card (through Paypal.)  
Click here to purchase the book on paypal – https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=76BHV2D849WAShttps://youtu.be/soZRLe-cLS0.


Murphy – You Can’t Make This Shit Up!

To All The Ships At Sea –

© Joe DiMaggio

I have a brand new car. Well, it’s 18 months old with twenty thousand miles on it. Driving up the mountain in a light rain the other day, all the fancy electronics didn’t stop me from almost going into a 3 foot ditch. I made the correction and limped home. After checking the air in my tires, I figured something must be broken in the suspension. I called my mechanic and luckily was able to bring the car in the next day. I asked him to please check the suspension. He put it on a lift and said, “This is your problem, one tire is bald, the other one is almost bald and the two remaining tires will not pass inspection. I said, “You have to be kidding me!” He explained auto manufacturers put the worst tires on cars and they burn out quickly. So I had to order 4 new tires, which came in 2 days later. When I went back I had to wait outside for an hour and forty minutes – it’s that virus thing. I pay the bill – it comes to $780 for the balance of the 14,000 miles left on my lease. I leave and drive maybe 5 miles away and every light on the dashboard goes on. I call my mechanic and he tells me to bring the car back. He’s was not happy. I”m outside again, and 20, 30, 40 minutes go by. Next thing I know it’s an hour and 20 minutes. I don’t wait well. However, I have a 25 year relationship with this mechanic and I need to be nice. He comes out to inform me the tires are fine. Now, here’s where you can’t make the shit up…I can’t get my car back! The electronic door to the garage is broken and there is no way to raise the door! He proceeds to drive me home. Four hours later he calls and says that I can come pick up my car. He got the door fixed. He then tells me, “By the way, your rear brakes are shot.” I say, “what do you mean?” He says, “The pads are thin on one side and thick on the other.” Obviously, there is a defect somewhere in the brake system. He told me it was dangerous and had to be fixed immediately. I called Honda, they gave me an emergency appointment for 2 days later. I had to drive 45 minutes to drop the car off at 8AM and was told I could pick it up at 8PM. On my way to the Honda dealership the computer went crazy again. When I got there I pleaded my case and the guy said he could get it done in maybe 2-3 hours. I came back in 4 hours and was told it would be another hour but I could go inside and get a cup of coffee. The coffee machine was out of green tea which is what I wanted. When I went to pick up the car the person who handed me the keys said we did you a favor and got it all done under warranty. No, there was no yelling, screaming, or punches thrown. Murphy, you can’t make this shit up! The following photos have no rhyme or reason or reference to the story. Ask Murphy why he selected them.

© Joe DiMaggio
© Joe DiMaggio

A.J. Langer – Star & Countess of Devon

Photo © A.J. Langer

To All the Ships at Sea –

You have to love your friends. As a matter of fact it’s good to love everybody. A.J. and I have had an opportunity to travel around the world. She’s one of the most amazing women I’ve ever met. It’s great having a friend who owns a castle – https://people.com/royals/my-so-called-life-star-a-j-langer-countess/ – just joking AJ! I guess I taught her well. She’s shooting back light again! That’s A.J’s Photo above that she sent me.

This is A.J’s reply to my video I sent her. if you haven’t seen my video – https://youtu.be/soZRLe-cLS0. It’s a 30 second video on Fighting the Corona Virus. From A.J. – “Go Joe!! All hunkered down in the countryside. Family all doing well so far. Sun is even shining. Yes A.J. I will go…go…go.

We all hope your Prime Minister Boris Johnson beats this horrible Virus.

A.J. in Belize © Joe DiMaggio
© Joe DiMaggio

FIGHT THE VIRUS by Joe DiMaggio – https://youtu.be/soZRLe-cLS0

© JoAnne Kalish

Stay Safe Fight Covid-19

To All the Ships At Sea –

https://youtu.be/soZRLe-cLS0 – Fight Covid-19

© JoAnne Kalish

I feel like I’m in one of the Twilight Zone’s segments. I never thought I would see my brothers and sisters die on soil more than in 9/11. Oh my God! I hope I live long enough to see what is written in history about 2020.

I did a 30 second video and my best friend and partner JoAnne Kalish was kind enough to do the still portrait of me. Brothers and sisters, keep your heads up, and try to maintain a great attitude. Positivity is your friend. Don’t let the Bastards grind you down! We will beat this thing and live to fight and photograph another day. See you on the road. – Joe D

Ace © Joe DiMaggio
© DiMaggio


To All The Ships At Sea –


© Joe DiMaggio

I sent this note to Bill for his Birthday – A few years back, I read a review about you reinventing yourself.  You explained to me, you didn’t go anywhere and you didn’t revive your career.  You said, once a Star always a Star – I’m paraphrasing.  Last night, before midnight, there you were, doing a commercial, 10 minutes later there you were on Saturday Night Live.  Okay the world got their fill of Bill Shatner – not even close!  Next thing I know you’re on channel 48 discussing the money pit in Nova Scotia.  Holy mackerel!  Okay, my eyes are getting heavy and I’m about ready to meet the sandman and there’s not one, not two, but three shows on the history channel.  Then another commercial for a clean sleep!  All followed by the pièce de résistance of seeing your tweet about self – quarantine!  Holy shit to the 10th degree!  The next logical step is, you run for the President of the United States.  Understand, I will support you, become your official photographer and maybe just maybe the Secretary of Happiness (hmm…I wonder if that’s a job?) Bill Shatner omnipresent.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY WILLIAM! You never lose a step!

From: William Shatner 

Subject: Joe

Date: August 6, 2019 at 2:35:16 PM EDT

To: Joe DiMaggio

Thanks Joe still Kickin it

Sent from my iPhone

© Joe DiMaggio
Joe’s book FILL THE FRAME goes into detail about the many people Joe has photographed – celebrities, sports figures as well as many others, his experiences working with them and the stories behind the photographs.

Nobuko Beautiful, Inside and Out

Copyright Joe DiMaggio

To All The Ships at Sea –

Over the years, many amateur photographers have ask me, how to make a great portrait, whether it be a formal portrait, a casual portrait, or an environmental one. What focal length lens should be used and what is the best aperture? Some other questions have been what is the best light to use and how to expose properly? Which is better – front, back or side light?

In my opinion, it’s all about the person you’re photographing. There are some basic rules, the first; being to focus and concentrate on the eyes as they are most important. In the case of Nobuko, her eyes are beautiful and full of life. If you look closely, you will notice her eyes, are that of a young person. The reason being, is that she is a young person of heart and mind. This was an impromptu shoot and I did not set up to photograph her, as she came for a social visit. I took one look at her and was so taken with her eyes, smile and her inner beauty. I knew the camera would love her, and it did. When I was a young photographer, just a couple of years ago, there was a cliché. The cliché was f/8 and be there or f/8 and show up. I’m pretty sure that most photographers, would be able to get a great photograph of this beautiful lady.

Copyright Joe DiMaggio
Copyright Joe DiMaggio
Steve Buma with his mom.
Copyright Joe DiMaggio

Denis Dermody American Hero

Copyright Unknown, possibly David Douglas Duncan

To All the Ships at Sea –

My cousin Denis Dermody was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart. The award is for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States. (Please take your time and read what he did on March 17, 1968.)

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Corporal Denis James Dermody (MCSN: 2242960), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Fork Lift Operator with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron ONE HUNDRED FIFTY TWO, FIRST Marine Aircraft Wing, in connection with military operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On the afternoon of 17 March 1968, the Khe Sanh Combat Base came under intense North Vietnamese artillery fire, and an ammunition storage area received a direct hit which ignited a fire. Reacting instantly, Corporal Dermody unhesitatingly maneuvered across the fire-swept terrain toward the site. As he approached the storage area, a large secondary explosion occurred. Undaunted by the explosion, Corporal Dermody continued to the location and, upon arriving at the site, fearlessly approached the flaming ammunition and commenced spraying an extinguishing agent on the blaze. Despite the enemy rounds impacting near him, he ignored several additional secondary explosions and continued his resolute efforts until the fire was extinguished. His heroic and timely actions prevented numerous nearby personnel from being seriously injured and detonation of large quantities of ammunition. By his courage, calm presence of mind under fire and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of great personal danger, Corporal Dermody inspired all who observed him and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: March 17, 1968

Service: Marine Corps

Rank: Corporal

Company: Military Air Transport Service 152 (MATS-152)

Division: 1st Marine Aircraft Wing