“I must say, that from all the pictures ive edited of this tragedy, this quickly rises to the top.” – Charlie Borst
To all the ships at sea,
It’s hard to believe it’s been 18 years since the attack on the World Trade Center. September 11th, 2001. While I was living in New York City they put up the World trade Center and half the people in the West Village were unhappy. It messed up the radio signals and television signals, and originally it was considered an eye sore.
Well, you get a little older and wiser and you realize how beautiful those two buildings were. A very dear friend of mine and the son of the greatest editor I ever had, Sally Lloyd and Richard Steedman went on to open the stock market which in my opinion was the greatest stock agency. The son of Sally is Andre Llyod, his father is Harvey Lloyd, one of the greatest photographers of our time. Andre was married with his first wife in the towers, and JoAnne and I stayed at the Marriott. Less than a year later, it would have be destroyed. I was finishing an 8 mile run and an automobile pulled up and said “Did you hear? A plane just hit the twin towers.” I could already visualize a plane hitting it. I was a half mile from my home, I got there in enough time to turn the TV on and see the 2nd plane hit the other tower. It was a terrible feeling. I looked at my camera bag, started to make a dash for it and realized that it was just not going to happen. 70 miles from Battery Park, not going to happen.
I would like to share with you what I consider one of the greatest photos ever taken today, in a candle light vigil for the 3000 brothers and sisters who died on that tragic day. The photo was taken by JoAnne Kalish. One frame, one shot on Kodachrome. The only thing I had to do with the photo was to edit it because JoAnne had driven to an assignment in Boston six days later.
Here’s the photo of a very dear friend of mine, Terry Patrick Farrell.
I have known several unbelievable studio photographers. Names such as Yousuf Karsh, Richard Avedon, and Irving Penn. Studio photographers are control freaks but in a good way. They control the lighting on the subject matter, the foreground, and the background. They control depth-of-field, shutter speed, and aperture. All of which translates into making a great photograph.
I have never considered myself a studio studio photographer, however, I do consider myself a great location studio photographer. I decided on Labor Day to spend 6 or so hours in my location studio. Reason being is that I wanted to generate some new work, try out some things, and I did it for the shear enjoyment and fun of it! I’d like to share them with with you. It wasn’t originally in the plan, but it is now. This is just one way I like to spend my time off.
Both JoAnne and I have been blessed that we have traveled the world for the last five decades. Literally around the world not once, but twice. We both received out doctorate degrees in people, places, events and understanding our fellow men and woman. One of the smallest places we visited was the little island of Cuba. We’re old enough to remember the Cuban Missile Crisis and then the Bay of Pigs and JFK. Well guys, that was 50+ years ago. Regardless of what anybody believes, whether the island was Communist or Socialist, the Cuban people are absolutely wonderful. They are extremely hard working, most of them have 2 or 3 jobs and it appears that they all have on thing in common; they really love the USA. Let me be clear, I love my country. It’s not a perfect republic but it’s one of the longest standing republics in the history of mankind. The one thing you never want to do (unless you’re a hardcore photojournalist) is never get involved with politics. Scratch that, hell if you’re a hardcore photojournalist you don’t get involved either. I guess I’m forgetting my roots, the Cuban people are the most educated Spanish speaking people in the world. The doctors are phenomenal, the artists are great, the rum well, lets not talk about the rum, I’m cutting back on my daily intake of alcohol. I don’t smoke Cuban cigars but they are the best in the world.
Both JoAnne and I will take you on and adventure on this little tiny island in Cuba. Please join us on January 20th to Jan 27th 2020.
To all the ships at sea, Whether you like it or not, boxing has been a large part of my repertoire as applicable to photography, filmmaking and writing. I never planned on it, I never went out of my way to promote it. It just seemed to happen. It may have had something to do with my grandfather taking me to a very big fight back at the old Madison Square Garden. The tiny island of Cuba has given us a plethora of great amateur and professional boxers. On my last two trips to Cuba, I managed to get close to a few of the old timers who are training the new up and coming Cuban pugilists. When I’m shooting at gyms in los Angeles, Chicago and New York, I always complain about the lights. The lighting is terrible, horrific, miserable and in some cases impossible when when you’re shooting. In Havana I’d kill for the light in any of these areas. The trainers are great, the boxers are great, the lighting does not exist. Yes I could use an on-camera strobe, but no, I’m not going to do that, and no I can’t bring in-studio strobes. Not ever gonna happen.
Both JoAnne and I have a great photographic workshop in January. Boxing will be one part of our trip. Hope to see you there.
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.