This Must Make You Think and Act

© Joe DiMaggio

I have known Steve Schwartz for many years. He is an extremely fine photographer,  amateur comedian, good actor and a sweet grandfather.  Like many Americans when I viewed the Parkland Shooting, my first indication was to shut the television off.  I’ve lost a son to cancer that left a hole in me the size of the Grand Canyon.  To see children slaughtered makes me ill.  Late last night, I read something that in my opinion is not only relevant but is a motivator for me and hopefully you to get off our asses, get on the phone and e mail our Congressmen and Senators and threaten their jobs if we do not ban these assault rifles. Let me be clear, I am not against the second amendment. It was written to protect our country and our homes for defense not offense. Approximately 25 years ago, HBO asked me to do an illustration on 357 children that were killed with hand guns in a one year period.  I came up with a graphic that went on to win several art director awards. Not that it’s important and it’s not, this photo was done in camera with no Photoshop manipulation.

Steve, thank you so much for sharing this.

I’m Not an “East Coast Bleeding Heart Liberal “ “Snowflake”nor  Anti-gun!

I’m extremely sad,frustrated and angry, that another senseless shooting has taken place!
When I was very young, (6 or 7) I became a child of a suicide,my dad ended his life ,at 28,with a self inflicted gunshot.
While,he died by his own hand, I cannot place the blame on a gunman bent on mass murder.
I’m too am a victim of gun violence.
I’ll never have the opportunity for him to explain why he did it, he left his family, not with memories of children growing up with a dad,a wife growing older with a husband. What dad gave to us a life long hurt caused by his actions. As I was growing up I often worried if, I would be strong enough face life’s problems, head on ,not loose my own self worth to live past dad’s 28 years.
I’m very thankful for a good friend, Rex (Geoff,your dad )who convinced me to spend time in therapy,that helped me grow into an adult( not all the way)

I’m not crying “me too “ but I’m like folks who have faced this type of tragedy,we shall carry this misery,caused by a senseless act compounded by a 60 cent bullet.

My high school, in the 1960s had a rifle range, the members of the school’s ROTC,had regular target shooting competitions, there were no mass shootings, I cannot remember anyone being threatened by another student, with a gun a fist,but not a firearm. What has happened to our country, where,when and why did this madness begin.

I don’t believe these mass murders at Columbine,Sandy Hook,Orlando. Las Vegas and possibly the rest happened because, the shooter’s had access to a weapon  defined as an “Assault Rifle”

Sociology was never part of my formal education, as curious person,being in sales,learning to control others, with intimidation and fear to get what you want.

As human’s gained the ability to communicate, by cave drawings, story telling, the written word, stories passed from one generation to another. The constant bombardment by a 24 hour news cycle and radio,Tv,the internet is in your bedroom,how can we avoid stories of death & destruction.  There is the old newspaper concept, “If it bleeds, It Leeds”, All this mayhem has to have a pronounced affect on the human mind.

Add to that recipe,man’s built in greed, a desire to control by asserting power,wealth, elimination of those who are different, revenge, seeking that illusive “15minutes of fame”, or is it just madness. If we look into history, genocide has always been part of the story.

Every day, America is pandering to the lobbyists who don’t want to have their interests harmed yet we are doing little or nothing to stop children being murdered in places that they should be safe from any harm.

Is it possible that when Billy spends his spare time playing a video game creates virtual “Blood Lust” that he wants to taste the real thing and does so by murdering his classmates. After his friends are dead  with no other targets to destroy, in the real world, no one goes home for dinner
Are we the cause of the mass killings? Could our country soon be a 3rd world nation?

Just like gravity, its only a theory!

We must, as a nation come together and take action, to put an end to this NOW!

Up Up & Away!

To All the Ships At Sea –

Putting together a sports/action program.  Fell in love with the blue skies and the F-22 Raptor shot with the Canon 5D Mark IV and the 100-400mm zoom.  Great package!

© Joe DiMaggio All Rights Reserved

© Joe DiMaggio All Rights Reserved

Spring is On the Way – Not!

© Joe DiMaggio

To All the Ships At Sea –

You say you don’t believe in global warming. Huh?  We’ve had almost 40 consecutive days of freezing some days minus 10 degrees. What’s the motto – don’t complain about the weather as there is nothing to do about it except for go to Ecuador which I will be doing shortly.

© DiMaggio

 

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Kodachrome

© Joe DiMaggio

To all the Ships at Sea –

Coming up to the 20th anniversary of digital (for me.) While researching a new book I came across this Kodachrome 64 slide of Tom Seaver.  It stopped me in my tracks.  Wow! Talk about butter!   Never to be seen again!

 

FILL THE FRAME 2.0

  To All The Ships At Sea –

I would imagine photographers are just like everyone else.  They get into a routine and take things for granted and that’s a very bad thing.  Anybody that knows me knows, that I shot Nikon Cameras from 1960 – 1984.  In 1984 I signed a contract with the IOC as a pool photographer.  I had to change from Nikon to Canon and from Kodak film to Fuji.  Not the easiest thing in the world to do but it had to be done to fulfill my advertising obligations with Canon, Fuji, and the Olympic Committee.

Suffice to say, Nikon makes very fine cameras and lenses. I found Canon to be not only equal but in many aspects a better fit.  Whether it was with sharpness, ergonomics, contrast, or speed.  The most important thing is that Canon  listens to both Professional photographers and amateurs.  It’s like one big focus group.  Their technical people are the best in the world.  They’ve always been there for me when I had any questions and have always had the answers.  Sometimes they’ve even had the answer before I had the question.  Rudy Winston who works for Canon, is not only a great photographer but also knows the equipment inside and out.  As far as I’m concerned he’s the go-to-guy on all aspects of the Canon System.  You’d think after being a working photographer for so long that I wouldn’t need help.  Wrong!  Things change constantly in the digital age of photography.

Below is a series of photos I did the other day with the 5D Mark IV and one of my favorite lenses the 100-400mm zoom.  It was late in the day with zero sunlight, lots of ice and difficult terrain.  I hope the photos speak for themselves.  Go out and make some photos.  One camera, one lens, two batteries , and two cards.  Keep it Simple Stupid!  The saying always works.

      

Happy New Year

To All The Ships At Sea –

I had an old friend and when we’d have a party or event everybody would say, “If he’s not late, he’s not coming.”  That’s my way of apologizing for this late blog.

January 1st to me is similar to January 2nd, 3rd, or 5th.  I don’t get very excited about January 1st.  My dear friend Dennis Wheeler, who is also my mentor, my art historian, my collaborator had a great day.  Unannounced two New York City Doctors showed up at his Gallery and bought two original Wheeler’s.  Much to his surprise after they left, a local businessman came by and also purchased another original Wheeler.  It doesn’t get better than that!  Dennis is one of the finest artists of our time and has the greatest amount of flexibility.  There is nothing he can’t do with a great variety of materials.  He can do it all and does it very well.  When Dennis does well – I do well!  I’m always happy for him.  Thanks Dennis for sharing your January 1st sales.

On January 3rd I received a Magazine assignment (really?)  I think we should get together and buy a lottery ticket.  In a perfect world this blog should have come out the evening of January 1st.

See link to article on Dennis Wheeler 

Ecuador A Beautiful Country

© DiMaggio Cuenca, Ecuador

To All the Ships at Sea,

We all have bucket lists.  I fulfilled one recently, on my 3 week trip to Ecuador. I now have visited all the countries in South America. I rarely have regrets but in this case my only regret is, I should’ve done this 20 years ago.

Ecuador is a hidden gem.  It is a country that goes rom sea level to 14,000 feet in 3 hours. There are more people in Brooklyn than in all of Ecuador put together.  It is beautiful and extremely cost effective.  My trip was dual purpose, to shoot a corporate video and go for a health vacation.  Both did not disappoint and on the contrary,  entailed much more than I would’ve dreamed of.  I’m going to select 2 dozen people for an online focus group.  I had no intention of a photo safari in Ecuador when I arrived, however, nowI think it’s a no brainer.  It would be like mixing Cuba and Spain together. These two are kind of what Ecuador is like.  Guess what? Another great advantage…Ecuador is a hopping off place for the Galapagos. On my next trip we’ll spend 2 or 3 weeks in Ecuador and 1 week to 10 days in the Galapagos. Extremely cost effective and absolutely outrageous.

Last but not least I have found a world class driver/guide that has the ability to make everything happen for the biggest amount of bang for everyones’ buck.

© DiMaggio

© DiMaggio

Textile Artisans

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© DiMaggio

Photographer and Nice Guy Shelly Katz

Photographer Shelly Katz

To All the Ships at Sea,

Approximately 4 months ago, my friend Sam called me and told me that an old friend Shelly Katz was not feeling well.  I called Shelly and we spoke for about a half hour. I sent him several photos of the Apollo Soyuz launch with all the guys from TIME Magazine.  I followed up with a couple more photos and wished him a Happy Birthday.  Unfortunately, last Friday Shelly went to the Darkroom in the Sky or actually maybe it’s a the Lightroom in the Sky!  Just for the record both JoAnne and I had the utmost respect for Shelly as a very fine photographer. Shelly, also had something else going for him,  everybody loved him.  In a profession that is ego driven Shelly had the goods and treated everybody equally.  At a time when male photographers did not give credence to female photographers he did.  Below is a beautiful letter from  long time good friend Sam Garcia.  Who every said Sam was a hard ass?  Was it me?  Maybe I was wrong.

“I hadn’t talked to Shelly in a couple of years.

It just goes like that sometimes, even when you like someone.

You can’t beat yourself up about it, but you’re going to a little bit anyway.
Couple of months ago a friend had a photo/home accident—they came back from a trip to find a pipe had burst directly over where they stored some of their work in their garage. Images and negatives literally sitting in water.
They called me; I told them what I thought was the best course of action to save/retrieve what was salvageable.
Then, because I don’t know know nearly enough about everything as I want to, I decided to double check what I’d told her by talking to another shooter with deep knowledge about a lot of stuff in the industry.
My first thought was Shelly.
And I was irritated to realize I didn’t have his number at hand it had been so long.
Called a mutual friend who gave it to me.
I called the number, said, basically,  “Hey, Shelly!, want to talk to you more, but will call you back because I’ve got a photo-emergency you might be able to help me with.”
Told him what I knew. What I’d suggested. He offered a couple of additional things.
I drove out and spent the afternoon trying to help my distraught friend save her memories.
(mixed results, but less overall disaster than she had feared.)
In one of the FEW responsible adult/mature moments of my Life, I called Shelly back in a couple of days to thank him for the help. Also, to actually talk about how he’d been, and swap those fill-in-the-blank stories you do with someone when you haven’t kept in touch as often as you’d have liked.
I got the sense he was under the weather health wise. But he was talking about his upcoming 75th birthday, and how well his son was doing, and we both bitched about the state of the industry we both liked probably more than it liked us.
Shelly’s background was certainly professional. Worked under the Time-Life umbrella for a few decades. Was represented in it’s glory days by the late great Black Star agency.
I had met him for the first time when I was traveling with the Nikon School.
We were both in the ‘Day In The Life’ book projects family as photographers.
That was back in…, September…?
I’m sitting at the table this morning, finishing up Xmas cards and thinking about lunch. I look over at one of the multitudinous piles of notes on various scraps of paper and see the one I’d scrawled Shelly’s name and number on.
I hadn’t wished him a happy 75th birthday.
I’d frankly, simply forgotten.
But I picked up the phone to see how he was doing pre-holiday.
But his son, Andrew answered the phone.
It’s not a genius thing to catch that tone in a voice which has only said ‘hello’
.
Shelly had died Friday.
I stumbled through my condolences as one does in that terrible moment, but you keep moving forward even when you’re uncomfortable because it’s not about you, and even if his son is a grown man, he just lost his dad.
I told him what I knew to be true–Shelly was one of the nicer guys I’d met in the industry over the years.
He was smart, and funny, and friendly, and really liked the business, even on those days when it beat him up a bit.
I kept it short, but as bad as I am at this stuff I stayed on, I hope, long enough to let him know other people liked and respected his dad, and the World was going to be a little less kind, a little less fun without Shelly in it.
His son asked me if I would mind letting people know.
So this is me doing that.
Right now he’s at Shelly’s home and answering that phone, but he also asked me to pass along his number if anyone wants to call.
Shelly’s number (in Texas)  972-247-0700
his son Andrew’s number, if you don’t get him at the above: 214-458-4858
I feel bad. I could’a, would’a, should’ a…fill in the blanks.
So I’ll try and do better. I think Shelly would accept that as the only apology worth giving.
Over the years I have come to believe the single worst lie you have heard via literature, and oft quoted, and oft repeated is the famous, ‘no man is an island‘.
It’s simply wrong.
Every single person is an island, and can slip away, slip beneath even calm waters in a moment, in a heartbeat.
 
But I do agree with John Donne a bit further into that piece, that, “Any man’s death diminishes me.”
I should have called him far more recently, and without the excuse to pick his brain, simply because I liked him. And I feel badly. And I’ll try and do better.
And the best thing I can offer Shelly’s spirit is with any luck you’re thinking of some ‘island’ you’ve been out of touch with, and maybe you’ll call them or write them.”  – Sam Garcia

*Article in the New York Times by John Camera Section on Shelly Katz by John Durniak (freelance writer, editor and photography consultant.)

www.nytimes.com/1991/07/21/news/camera.html

 

A signed copy of Joe’s Book FILL THE FRAME is $20 plus $4 shipping 

Sixty Seconds vs Sixty-One Seconds

© Joe DiMaggio

To All the Ships at Sea,

All athletes love to finish the season with a win.  It’s a great way to finish and makes next year’s start all the better. Well I’m still riding the luck and winding up 2017 with a great assignment, potentially it could turn out be a major change for a lot of people.  Before I fill you in on an exceptional new heavyweight boxer,  I will tell you a story about a one hour photo session with Mike Tyson,  former heavyweight champion of the world (see more details Tyson chapter in my book FILL THE FRAME  link below.) 
It is very rare when more than one publication comes together to glean a photo but it happened here.  I negotiated for INSIDE SPORTS Magazine, a one hour shoot with heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson, which was to be at 5:30 am at the Plaza Hotel.  He shows up with an entourage and his body guard tells me I have 60 seconds to take the photo not 60 minutes.  As I prepare to do a verbal dance with him he looks at his watch and goes 57…56… I pick up my camera (the lights and background were set up 2 hours earlier.) My first 9 frames – there’s a technical word we use in photography, “sucked.”  The bodyguard said 28… I stopped shooting, and look at Mike and I ask if he was angry and he said, “Yes.”  I said, “Why don’t you scream?” I stepped back and he did, while I made 2 frames.  It became an iconic portrait of Mike Tyson.
An old friend Randy Gordon, also known as the “Commish,” now on SiriusXM radio with another longtime friend boxer Gerry Cooney,  gave me an assignment to photograph heavyweight Michael Coffie’s first professional fight with a follow up later this year with a studio portrait.  I drove to the Sands Hotel and Casino for a 6:00pm start, got there at 4 and like all events, you play the game, hurry up and wait. The credential desk didn’t open till 5:45 or 6:00 and start turned out to be at 7:00.  My fight was scheduled for the 3rd and was moved to the 7th. I photographed the undercards just for practice.  How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” “Practice practice practice.” As the fight was about to start I looked into the ring and asked my buddy how much this guy weighed, he said 240. There’s only one heavyweight.  Before I know it, the fight starts and lasts 61 seconds. Not much time to get the definitive action photo. Got the punch, good news, bad news, didn’t really see it.  Note, my position. I hope the studio session goes a little longer than 60 or 61 seconds. But like a good boy scout, you always have to be prepared.  Hope to see you on the road again…  For those of you who want to know…Canon EOS 5D Mark lV 24-70 1/1600 sec f/3.5

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

© DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

© DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

Front Cover FILL THE FRAME

“Recalling His Adventures as a Working Photographer from the 60’s to present day. The book describes his 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 figures as well as so many others and his experiences working with them as well as the stories behind the photographs.

Book is $20 plus $4 shipping. You can pay by check, paypal or credit card (through Paypal.)  
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