Stupidity Squared

© DiMaggio

To All The Ships At Sea –

There are basic fundamental rules never to be broken.  Compositional rules can be broken as well as rules about lighting color, contrast, & density you can break all the time. No big deal!  So what are the rules you never want to break?  Turning your back on a race car – you never want to do that!  Falling out of a helicopter – you never want to do that!  Challenging authority in a security situation – you never want to do that

I digress… somewhere around 1980 I was photographing my son’s red convertible.  It was parked 5 feet below me on a cement driveway and I was on a wall above.  I became so rapped up into what I thought would be a very bizarre composition with virtually a brand new 20mm lens.  So exactly what was my mistake?  Looking through the camera I walked off the wall.  My immediate reaction as I floated in mid air was to save my camera by putting it over my head so it would not hit the car or the cement.  It was brilliant so what hit first?  My elbows and my face and then the camera and lens as it hit the cement.  Not very smart of me!   Another time,  I was on assignment at Pebble Beach Golf Course in California for the New York Times, when the Greenskeeper told me to be careful at a certain hole.  Two golfers drove their golf cart off the side of the course and dropped almost a hundred feet to the rocks and sea.  That’s another no no.  Exactly why am I writing this blog?  Fast forward to 2018, I walk into my studio to see a streak of light from a glass door hitting my office chair.  It was gorgeous.  I grabbed my camera.  I looked through the camera and it was not what I wanted, so I backed up, didn’t like it, and backed up several times while making an exposure each time.  The forth time I backed up, I hit an extremely large half-inch glass table and my body went up in the air!  What did I do?  I raised the camera up again as I  started to fall, my other leg hit the table and as luck would have it I fell  to the right of the table.  Suffice to say if my svelte body hit the table, there is no doubt, I would have been dead.  Boy was I lucky!

So the moral of this story is, pay attention, know where you are, don’t make any moves while the camera is to your eye, and don’t count on luck to get you out of a bad situation!  KISS… but don’t be stupid!

© DiMaggio

© DiMaggio

© DiMaggio

“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, and 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 –

First of many Amazon Reviews – “Where have you been Joe DiMaggio…An amazing recounting of this photographers life. Each story is a touchstone to a period that resonates in our collective recollection of America.  It’s at once funny, sad, and charming, I simply couldn’t put it down.  A great read…” S. Simon Jacob






Will Barnet: One Hundred and Five (I Wish)

Will Barnet Artist © JoAnne Kalish 576e

© JoAnne Kalish and self portrait Will Barnet

My partner, Joanne Kalish, received an assignment to do a portrait of Will Barnet. The first two sittings were canceled by Will. When JoAnne questioned the artist, he confided in her that he was not comfortable. Most great photographers know everything about shutter speed, aperture, sharpness- all of the things that are not that important in a photograph. JoAnne has the ability to make a total stranger comfortable and gets the best of the best.

They say the third time’s the charm. Will asked that there be no lighting, per se, and no assistant, pomp or ceremony. JoAnne went to Barnet’s studio armed with just one camera and two lenses and came away with the definitive greatest photograph that had ever been taken of Will Barnet. How do I know that? Will Barnet told JoAnne six months after the photo was taken that this was his all time favorite photo and the best photo ever taken of him. He’s not only been photographed by thousands of photographers but also at least fifty of the best photographers in the world.

Today would have been his 105th birthday. No photographer likes to take a backseat to another photographer. I love the photo so much that I actually purchased one from JoAnne and it hangs above my desk. We also now have a framed 40×60 called “Will Barnet at 100” that came from the National Academy Museum and School. Over the years, I’ve collected eight or nine pieces of Will Barnet’s art.


JoAnne introduced me to Will and we had lunch and dinner together a few times. I have to say, he was one of the most amazing people that God put on this planet. At lunch one day we started to talk politics- not a good subject. I said, “What we need now is a new WPA (Works Project Administration)” and Will sipped his tea and said, “What a good idea, I headed the WPA as applicable to imagery.” I was sitting with a man who was at the forefront of the WPA.


To all the ships at sea, I’d like to end this blog. One of the biggest thrills of my life was when Will Barnet looked at my portfolio. He looked at me and said, “You are not a photographer, you are a painter.” That will be one of the things I will always remember when I check into the darkroom in the sky.

Artist Will Barnet & Photographer JoAnne Kalish

Artist Will Barnet and Photographer JoAnne Kalish ©DiMaggio


Don’t Wait 38 Years to Look at Your Take

What’s interesting about photography is that you spend the first five years learning all of the basic fundamental rules.  Things like; F-stops, apertures, depth of field, depth of focus, the geometric progression of 1.4, and you make five or ten mistakes a day everyday, for the next ten years.  Then when you hit year twenty, you think, who the hell are you, and in reality, well… it’s not for me to say who you are, what you are, or where you’re going.  You try desperately to perfect your visual literacy, and communicate your vision with the rest of the world.  You’ll probably have to die before it’s ever recognized on certain levels, and then believe it or not, it may be too late.  Unless of coarse you believe that you’re moving to another level of consciousness, which I choose to believe.  Not afraid of dying, just hope there’s some developer left in the tank when I get there… or maybe 100 terabytes of space in the hard drive.  In 1977, Sports Illustrated gave me an assignment to cover the World Series.  I shot approximately 30 roles of film.  They were sent into the lab, processed, they ran what they ran, and then the film came back with my X-Number on it.  They sat in the file waiting for me to return from Greece where I was for a month shooting an advertising assignment, and then two weeks off in Santorini.  By the time I got back, there were several more Sports Illustrated assignments that year.  The long in the short of it is, I never saw the film until 10 weeks ago, so what you’re about to see is 38 years old.  It’s been 38 years that I had an opportunity to look at my take.  As my good friend Willy Nelson and Ralph Brandofino would say, “You better take some time to smell the roses.”  Three first pitch home runs by New York Yankee, Reggie Jackson.

To all the ships at see, smell the roses.




2nd Amendment, I don’t think so.

Hi to All the Ships at Sea,

2nd AmendmentI received an assignment from HBO to do an illustration on hand guns in America. There were approx 357 children killed with handguns the year of the assignment. The photo editor gave me carte blanche to do anything that I wanted to the photo. What you see is a multiple exposure done in the studio with a real 357 magnum with 6 dyna-lites against a clear background. Person holding the gun was silhouetted, then I rewound the film and shot the american flag on top of the silhouette (effectively, there was no exposure there) and by over exposing the corners by 2-3 stops I blew the flag out and just left the hand with the American flag wrapped around the gun. The photo won a few awards when and when people see it today they presume it was done in Photoshop, but it was done in the camera. Entitled 2nd amendment (I never put titles on work).

Two days ago the Senate knocked down the gun bill. Photographic blog, not a political blog…I must watch my language. They should all blank, blank, blank and be totally ashamed of themselves. How much money do they take on the side from gun manufacturers and the NRA? We are taking the greatest country in the history of all mankind and we’re turning it into a third world country. The English couldn’t beat us, the French couldn’t beat us, the Germans couldn’t beat us, the Russians, the Chinese, the Koreans. We’re going to destroy ourselves. anybody who knows me, I love to be happy but with what’s going on today in this world, I’m sorry, we need to get with the program. Go out and make a photograph of your wife…your children…we’ve got enough guns. If you want to shoot something, make a photograph. For the record, I own 6 guns so I am not ANTI-guns. Camera: NikonF 55micro and a grease pencil. Exposure: 1/90th of a second at 22 and 1/90th of a second at 5.6.

All the Best,

Joe D

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© Joe DiMaggio


I had a half hour off the other day and I decided to look through some of my old TIME magazine and Sports Illustrated assignments.  I stumbled across this photo that I did for them to celebrate the opening of Giant Stadium. I was totally blown away when I heard they were going to build a new stadium. It seems like yesterday they had just built a new stadium. Of course, a business person friend of mine explained that it’s all about the super boxes and the Fortune 500 Companies. Well, considering my only interest is between the goal line and the goal line, a super box just doesn’t do it for me. If TIME asks me to go and shoot the new one, it’s going to take me a little longer to get to the bird’s-eye perch.  See you at the game!

TIME Magazine Assignment

I had a half hour off the other day. Decided to just look through some of my old TIME magazine and Sports Illustrated assignments and I stumbled across this photo that I did for them to celebrate the opening of Giant Stadium. I was totally blown away when I heard they were going to build a new stadium. It seems like yesterday they just built a new stadium. Of course, a businessman friend of mine explained that it’s all about the super boxes and the Fortune 500. Well, considering my only interest is between the goal line and the goal line, a super box just doesn’t do it for me. If TIME asks me to go and shoot the new one, it’s gonna take me a little longer to get to the birds’ eye perch.  See you at the game!
Joe D.