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.
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.