Jake LaMotta The Boxer that Inspired “Raging Bull”

Jake LaMotta © Joe DiMaggio

To All the Ships at Sea –

After the last half a century I’ve spent several days with Jake LaMotta.  He was kind enough to give me an exclusive interview for my documentary film “In This Corner.”  Before agreeing to this interview, he turned me down many times. My dear friend Bert Sugar, suggested that I offer him a bottle of wine, a $25 cigar, an autographed photo, and dedicate the film to his two sons that passed, that might work. Well Bert, was right and Jake agreed to the interview.  JoAnne and I met Jake at nearby P.J. Clarke’s where we spent the entire afternoon.  During the interview Jake was extremely intense and honest. Honest to a point, that I was not comfortable using the whole interview!

I would like to give you a short excerpt from my recent book FILL THE FRAME.  Jake and I happened to be sitting together in first class and in front of us was Boxing Promoter Bob Arum and his beautiful wife. As we sat down Jake looked at me and said,  “you have a lot of nerve sitting here.  You #$@&%* my wife!”  He went on to a point where I was getting genuinely concerned.  He was deep into his 70’s but probably still could take my head off.  I’m a lover not a fighter!  Uh oh, I think Jake, would have taken this the wrong way!  Luckily Bob Arum turned around in his seat and said, “Jake, Joe D did not screw your wife, he was not old enough to screw your wife and didn’t even know her!”  We all laughed and proceed to have our martinis and champagne. That was when first class was first class!  Now you’re lucky if you get a warm coke and some dry roasted peanuts. When things finally calmed down I asked him who the greatest fighter was of all time?  He looked at me like I had no brain in my head and said, “You have to be kidding, what planet do you live on? There was only one and it was Sugar Ray Robinson.”

Jake had over 100 fights.  His career spanned over 13 years.  He fought the greatest boxer of all times Sugar Ray Robinson, six times and beat him once.  I strongly recommend if anyone in heaven, runs into Jake you treat him with the utmost respect. Stay far enough away so that he can’t hit you with a combination because if he hits you,  you will wind up in hell!

Jake LaMotta © Joe DiMaggio “In This Corner”

Jake LaMotta © Joe DiMaggio “In This Corner”

Photographer Joe DiMaggio and Heavyweight Boxer Jake LaMotta

Bob Dylan The Noblemen

© Joe DiMaggio

Bob Dylan © Joe DiMaggio

Growing up in Greenwich Village I can’t imagine a better place.  You walk out the door and were able to go see & hear music by Peter, Paul & Mary, Phil Ochs. Hell, for 75 cents, for a cup of coffee, you could go see & hear Bob Dylan!  I would like to share this with you – JoAnne and I had breakfast with Harry Chapin one morning.  He was a nearby neighbor.  We both lived on the water in the Huntington/Centerport area.  Harry was a beautiful person. It wasn’t uncommon for him to work for very little with most of the proceeds going to his Children’s Fund.  During breakfast, the question of songwriters came up.  Harry excused himself ran into the other room and came back with the The Writings and Drawings of Bob Dylan and proceeded to give Mr. Zimmerman all the accolades he deserved.  I didn’t need Harry to tell me what a great writer Dylan was.  Article New York Times – Bob Dylan Wins Nobel Prize, Redefining Boundries of Literature  http://nyti.ms/2dYYjQs

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

Harry Chapin & Son Josh © Joe DiMaggio

Harry Chapin & Son Josh © Joe DiMaggio

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In The Beginning, God Made Film

Coverphoto

Our first partnership name was “Images.” That only lasted about a year before we changed it to “Lumière.” That lasted about a decade until the senior vice president of Faberge told us that she was not impressed with a French name for an American company. So, it went into hiatus until last year. Now I’ve decided, what the hell- let’s revive it. Brut! What kind of name is that for an aftershave? To all the ships at sea, read a little bit about the Lumière brothers It’s a quick read.

“The Lumière brothers, Auguste and Louis, were sons of well known Lyon’s based portrait painter Antoine Lumière. They were both technically minded and excelled in science subjects and were sent to Technical School.

Antoine, noting the financial rewards of new photographic processes, abandoned his art and set up a business manufacturing and supplying photographic equipment. Joining him in this venture was Louis who began experimenting with the photographic equipment his father was manufacturing.

During his experimentation, Louis discovered a process which assisted the development of photography. Louis developed a new ‘dry plate’ process in 1881 at the age of seventeen, it became known as the ‘Etiquette Bleue’ process and gave his father’s business a welcome boost, and a factory was built soon after to manufacture the plates in the Monplaisir quarter of the Lyons Suburbs.

By 1894 the Lumière’s were producing around 15,000,000 plates a year. Antoine, by now a successful and well known businessman, was invited to a demonstration of Edison’s Peephole Kinetoscope in Paris. He was excited by what he saw and returned to Lyons. He presented his son Louis with a piece of Kinetoscope film, given to him by one of Edison’s concessionaires and said, “This is what you have to make, because Edison sells this at crazy prices and the concessionaires are trying to make films here in France to have them cheaper”.

The brothers worked through the Winter of 1894, Auguste making the first experiments. Their aim was to overcome the limitations and problems, as they saw them, of Edison’s peephole Kinetoscope. They identified two main problems with Edison’s device: firstly its bulk – the Kinetograph – the camera, was a colossal piece of machinery and its weight and size resigned it to the studio. Secondly – the nature of the kinetoscope – the viewer, meant that only one person could experience the films at a time.

By early 1895, the brothers had invented their own device combining camera with printer and projector and called it the Cinématographe. Patenting it on February 13th 1895, the Cinématographe was much smaller than Edison’s Kinetograph, was lightweight (around five kilograms), and was hand cranked. The Lumières used a film speed of 16 frames per second, much slower compared with Edison’s 48 fps – this meant that less film was used an also the clatter and grinding associated with Edison’s device was reduced.

Perhaps most important was Louis’s decision to incorporate the principle of intermittent movement using a device similar to that found in sewing machines. This was something Edison had rejected as he struggled to perfect projection using continuous movement. The brothers kept their new invention a closely guarded secret with Auguste organising private screenings to invited guest only.

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The first of such screenings occurred on 22nd March 1895 at 44 Rue de Rennes in Paris at an industrial meeting where a film especially for the occasion, Workers leaving the Lumière factory, was shown. Unlike Edison, the Lumière Brothers were quick to patent the Cinématographe outside of their native France, applying for an English Patent on April 18th 1895. The brothers continued to show their invention privately, again on June 10th to photographers in Lyon.

Such screenings generated much discussion and widespread excitement surrounding this new technology – in preparation for their first public screening on 28th December at the Grand Cafe on Paris’s Boulevard de Capuchines. The programme of films on show that day was as follows:

La Sortie de usines Lumière (1894)
La Voltige (1895)
La Peche aux poissons rouges (1895)
La Debarquement du congres de photographie a Lyons (1895)
Les Forgerons (1895)
L’ Arroseur arrose (1895) Repas de bebe (1895)
Place des Cordeliers a Lyon (1895)
La Mer (1895)

Louis photographed the world around him and some of his first films were ‘actuality’ films, like the workers leaving the factory. The brothers began to open theatres to show their films (which became known as cinemas). In the first four months of 1896 they had opened Cinématographe theatres in London, Brussels, Belgium and New York.

Their catalogues grew from 358 titles in 1897 to 1000 in 1898 to 2113 in 1903; although out of the 2113 titles in the 1903 catalogue, less than 50 were the brothers. The rest were taken by other operators like Promio, Doublier and Mesguich. In 1900 the brothers projected a film on a huge 99 x 79 foot screen at the Paris Exposition, after which they decided to curtail their film exhibitions and devote their time to the manufacture and sale of their inventions.

In 1907 they produced the first practical colour photography process, the Autochrome Plate.

Antoine, after the initial cinematic explosion, returned to his art and continued to paint until his death in 1895.”

Joe D.

 

 

It’s All Good

Hi to All the Ships at Sea,

Let’s see if I got this right-I don’t like Photoshop, right? Right. I don’t like software where you can manipulate images…right? Right. I believe everything should be done in the camera…right? Right. Never crop, right? Right. Less is more, right? Right. Digital will be just like 8-tracks, it’ll never last. So let’s check out the reality, I guess it’s impossible to be right all the time.

The photograph of this young lady catching a cod-fish off the coast of Prince Edward Island, up until today, was flat, muddy, indistinguishable and almost two stops under. There’s a technical  term in photography for a photo like this…it’s blank blank blank blank. Well through a little bit of work in Photoshop and NIK software it came alive.  The young lady’s name  is JoAnne Kalish.

All the Best,

Joe D

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Gitzo, whats old is new again

The problem is with making anything world class, tremendous quality,and so reliable that it can outlast most of the patrons that use it. Like an old pair of socks or an old work shirt, I have a problem discarding old friends. Approximately  in 1972, I purchased a large heavy Gitzo tripod. It virtually went around the world with me. It went to several Olympics, a World Series, major advertising assignments, and at the Apollo Soyuz. That tripod held a 400mm, a 600mm, and a 800 mm, and was the Rock of Gibraltar. About 10 years ago my studio manager complained that the tri pod was too big and to heavy. I procured a smaller Gitzo and two Manfrottos. They are fabulous tripods, but I missed the big Gitzo. Who knew 40 years ago, that much of my work in 2012 would be with DSLR’s for videos, I certainly did not. I decided to resurrect my first Gitzo as the new technology. I gave a call to Chris Brunngraber. I purchased the new 504 HD bridge, of course I did not tell him I was going to put it on the old Gitzo, and soon found out that my tri pod had a 150mm yoke. Two days later Chris sent me a 75mm adapter. WOW! how cool is that?! I am now able (with the help of Manfrotto) to breathe new life into an old tripod. To all the ships at sea, obviously I am not taking any thing away from the new technology. Let’s just call it a green thing. Wow I’m acually keeping up and recycling. Hell it is all good, go out and make some new photos, that’s the most important thing.


 To all the ships at sea II, in the lead photograph there are two absolutely fantastic people Ron Thompson- senor tech adviser for Nikon ” and a lot more.” Ralph Morse- the best LIFE magazine photographer when it came to the space program, and much more. A separate blog will follow

Birthday. The Bertster.

Everyday of our lives, is an important day. Six months ago I made a decision to teach a work shop at Gleason’s Gym. When my studio manager reminded me that it was my birthday I said great. I consider work a privilege and what better to do then teach photography at Glesons’ Gym. Its just does not get better then that. I knew it was going to a very special and an amazing eclectic group. From Brazil, Chili, Colombia, England, Norway, and all over the east coast. A great balance between men and women, and great help from JoAnne Kalish, Larry Malang, Peter Poremba. It was a hell of a great day. Life is funny, I was on a great natural high, and I got back to the studio. Did not check my voice mail, did not check my email, downloaded the cards, checked facebook. I don’t check it that often and I find one of my close friend died of a heart attack. It was Bert Sugar. On Wednesday, I called Bert, he answered me as usual “Uncle Joe.” I always call him the “Bertster”. I asked him how he was feeling, and he said” I have lung cancer, and have internal bleeding but that’s not the problem.” Then I asked him what the big problem was? He said, “I have F@$!#ing terminal acne.” Thats the Bertster, no matter what the dialogue is he always finds humor in it. He was loved by millions, hated by thousands, he was a true Damon Runyon character and a great friend. I will miss him, yes I will miss him… Off the record, he suffered “Cuttysheimers”, his words not mine. RIP Bert Sugar.

                                 Bert Sugar, Playwright Budd Schulberg, and son Benn Schulberg

                                                           Bert Sugar

                                            Captain Lou Albano, Bert Sugar

Bert Randolph Sugar at his finest at Gleasons’

All photos copyright Joe DiMaggio

Queue the Rapids!

I was contracted by the Canadian Olympic Association to photograph basketball, boxing, soccer, track and field, and kayaking. I fell in love with kayaking and proceeded to kayak for the next 20 years and moved to ocean kayaking. One of the things that I used kayaking for was eye-hand coordination and remote photography. Will try to dig out some of the film- Yes, Alice, there was film in those days! I’ll see if I can show you a few examples. But, in the interim, every once and a while I like to take the rust off and go photograph kayaking. Here are a few frames. Hope you enjoy them. Shutter speed ranged between a 500 and 1000, ISO 200. 80 to 200 mm lens. Pick a number- f4.5.