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.)  
Click here to purchase the book on Paypal – https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=76BHV2D849WAS

Dr. Jeffrey Liegner vs God

To All the Ships at Sea,
     I had an epiphany the other night after driving 160 miles round trip to photograph a boxing assignment.  What I found out was that highways have exit and speed limit signs and was totally taken back by this!  A friend mentioned they’ve been there all along but you could have fooled me!
     I’ve probably mentioned before that I don’t particularly like smart phones, however,  like them or not,  they are here to stay.  I no longer use my car GPS because it’s not up to date, so I have been using my IPhone. Up until recently,  I was unable to really see the directions on my IPhone very well.  So how do I account for my improved eyesight all of a sudden? This all came to be,  thanks to a friend recommending eye Doctor Jeffery Liegner, a specialist in corrective eye surgery to me, telling me how truly great he was.  I have to agree Dr. Liegner is truly an amazing guy and a true visionary.  He came up with new protocols for eye surgery including eye drops that are put in the eye during the surgery and not needed afterwards (also a great savings.)  I had cataract surgery in my shooting eye,  and my vision has gone from 20 /400 and progressively worsening to now seeing better than 20/20 both day and night.  Before my surgery Dr. Liegner told me I’d see colors, depth and sharpness like I’ve never seen before.  I now understand what he was saying.  He also gave me vision in my left eye which I had not had since I was a young child! That eye was virtually blind (or so I was previously told.) I am absolutely freaked out by the contrast, detail, and color I now see!  It is so truly amazing!  I take my Beret off to this very special Doctor.  I also found out Doctor Liegner, donates a good amount of time helping the underprivileged as well.  When I return from my trip to S. America, I plan on making a documentary on Doctor Liegner and shooting an in-depth picture story on him because I find it important I do that. I truly am a lucky man!
     An additional note, Dr. Liegner is an active Pilot and is in the process of building his own plane.  I’ve included one of several photos of Andrew Wright in a F-22 Raptor from the NY Airshow.  Also a couple photos from one of the fights I shot that evening.

©Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

Kevin vs Kevin

© DiMaggio

To all the Ships at Sea

I genuinely believe as human beings we tend to bitch and moan about things that we shouldn’t bitch and moan about. I guess the simple way to look at things is “what can you do about it?  When I relocated from New York I had hundreds of trees on my property. Four very large beautiful oaks had to be taken down due to the proximity of the house and two more were taken down in building the barn. I took down the minimal amount of trees because they are so beautiful.  I have a very large birch tree maybe 70 feet, very close to the house. It did not bud this year so I presumed it was dead. I received a quote of  “$1,200 – $2,000” to cut and remove it. In relocating to the upper Delaware Valley,  I have learned to use a chainsaw quite well and yes it is quite dangerous but this is really too close to the house for me to deal with.
A friend of mine suggested calling kevin, not realizing I had hired Kevin ten years ago and had a really good experience when he did a job for me. Kevin showed up and said, “I don’t think this tree is dead and I don’t think it has to come down. Let’s wait until late spring of 2018 and then we’ll consider maybe taking down.  The cost will be $150 dollars.”  It’s good know kevin.  I could put the savings into a new Canon lens.
I  have 2  beautiful Herman Miller office chairs and one of the seats snapped.  It sounded like somebody shot off a 45 in the studio.  I did some research and decided I would epoxy the crack.  After buying what I believed to be the best epoxy for the seat, there was a warning on the types of material it would not work well on,  so I called Herman Miller to find out the type of polymer they use for their chairs. The lovely young lady said she can’t give out that information as it’s proprietary but she would transfer me to the head of repair.  A gentleman got on the phone and explained to me that I should not in any way attempt to repair the seat as hundreds of people failed doing just that. The reason is the seat flexes up down left right depending on the weight of the person sitting. I’m not exactly a lightweight!  A young man asked me for the number of the chair for the warranty and explained it was good for twelve years. He looked up the purchase date, it was 2000.  Unfortunately, it was out of warranty and at that point the gentlemen said, “Mr DiMaggio I will ship you out a replacement seat at no charge, with complete instructions on how to make the necessary exchange.”  Would you like to guess his name? It was Kevin!  So Kevin the Great meet Kevin the Magnificent.  Hell, my cousin’s name is Kevin and he’s a wonderful guy!   If I have another child, in another life, I’ll name him Sue, no Johnny Cash already did that!  I’ll call him Kevin!  Always remember life is great.  Hope to see you on the road again!

For the Pure Fun of It

To All the Ships at Sea –
As a working photographer I tend to forget what motivated me originally to take my first photographs.  A fat check of blank, blank, blank is a good thing but to be honest, when the check is cashed and the money is spent is that only what it’s all about?
Over the years I’ve realized that some of the most best photos I’ve taken were for the pure enjoyment of making that photograph and capturing that feeling, moment, or crazy idea in my head!  Understand I know there are people who spend hours and days photographing butterflies.  I’ve only attempted this maybe twice – not usually my thing. When I was on the phone with a gallery I was working with, I stepped outside and a butterfly flew by and landed on a flower.  All of a sudden I wanted to grab a camera and record what I saw but obviously couldn’t.   After I hung up with the curator I went outside and sure enough that butterfly was still there and I had another chance.  I went inside got my camera and took a few shots.  Maybe it wasn’t as good as the one I initially saw and I wouldn’t exactly call it a great photograph but I got a kick out of making it for the pure fun and enjoyment of just following this butterfly around to see if I could capture that shot again.   So there you have it…

©Joe DiMaggio

©Joe DiMaggio

©Joe DiMaggio

©Joe DiMaggio

JUST FOR FUN!

© Joe DiMaggio

To All the Ships at Sea –

It’s almost impossible to have a flat sea. I believe the proper expression is flat calm or dead calm – not a ripple to be seen.  I took advantage of this anomaly to make a very simple photograph.

I came up with a concept 20 years ago of standardization and simplification or KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid.) I had an opportunity to study art in Japan and you find out that less is more.  This was not an assignment. This was just for me.

I will make a 30 x 40.

Eye Chart with an “E”

 


To All the Ships at Sea –

I’m pretty sure the human species including myself takes a lot for granted. The one thing I’ve not taken for granted is my vision.  I don’t mean my vision for fellow man, I mean MY EYES.  Oops… I really mean my EYE.  Since age 5 I haven’t had vision in my left eye.  Well, I had my first surgery on my left eye since I was a kid.  Yesterday, I went for my 24 hour follow up and they tested me and much to my surprise I can now see the big “E” and the second line F and P, the third line not so much.  I guessed at the Z but did not see the T and the O.  Dr. Liegner tells me that it is a huge improvement and considering my eye was still dilated from the surgery he said it would only get better.  I can now look at my watch and read the time.  Who knows where I may go after this?  Maybe I can learn how to play the Piccolo or become a juggler?  Nah, I better stick to photography.

As I mentioned before I am the luckiest guy on the planet.  I will share my first photo with my new vision.  It’s a fun photo.

Live, Love, Laugh, and Be Happy. All the Great Things in Life are Free…

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

JUST FOR FUN!

 

 

 

 

Bobby Kyle’s New Album IT’S MY LIFE

Photo © Joe DiMaggio

Photo © JoAnne Kalish

 

To All the Ships at Sea –

There are 2 questions I’ve been asked thousands of times.  Am I related to Joe DiMaggio #5 The Yankee Clipper?  The second question is do you ever work together with the great JoAnne Kalish on the same assignment?  The answer is yes, we have on several occasions.  When it comes to JoAnne and myself – I say black she says white.  I say go she says stay.  I say red she says green. It makes for a great relationship because we agree on almost everything!  Not! Well, I don’t know about JoAnne but it keeps me on my toes.  People think she’s a mild mannered laid back easy going woman. Not! She’s as tough as they come!  Many a sports photographer who tried to muscle her out of a position found out that women have elbows too and their’s are a lot harder and sharper then men’s.  I’ve seen one or two men actually go down!  You shouldn’t push a 11o pound photographer around!

Where am I going with this?  JoAnne and I have a wonderful friendship with one of the greatest Blues Musician in the World -also  inductee to the Blues Hall of Fame. His name is Bobby Kyle. He’s a great writer, singer, guitarist, arranger and his music transcends Rock and Roll and Rhythm and Blues.  Bobby’s got about 6 or 7 albums and his most recent album is drop dead fabulous!  He just keeps getting better…If anyone is close to Monclair, New Jersey this coming Sunday November 5, 2017 he has two shows (I think 7 and 10pm) at Trumpets which is a great venue. He will be having a Release Party for his new album IT’S MY LIFE.”  I had the pleasure and privilege of photographing the cover which is a pretty good photo.  JoAnne on the other hand got the photo that was used on the CD inside and I kind of like her’s better. I did notice something about Bobby which is that he always shows us his good side. Interesting…I don’t believe I ever photographed him from the other side!  Could have something having to do with him looking into the frame rather than out of the frame.  By the way, he has his own chapter in my book FILL THE FRAME.  He will be at another venue in Philadelphia called the Twisted Tail (November 11) in about a week & you can check out his Facebook page for more information https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=bobby%20kyle%20%26%20the%20administers

If anyone wants to check out what I wrote about Bobby Kyle here’s a link to purchase a signed copy of my book FILL THE FRAME.  AND ALWAYS PLEASE REMEMBER TO SUPPORT THE ARTS INCLUDING THIS HOLIDAY SEASON!  Here’s link to http://www.bobbykyle.com/index.htmlBobby’s website as well 

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