Photography is Magic

NL - April13-1

© Ann Raine

To all the ships at sea,

On one level, if photography is magic then Ann Raine was Houdini. She put forth an unbelievable effort in everything that she did, and she reinvented herself on at least five occasions. We had very long discussions on where she wanted to go photographically, and in many ways I encouraged her with all my heart and soul. That was on the right hand; on the left hand I explained to her that the overall perception of photography was losing some of its magical powers. With the advent of digital, the image became a little too easy and a little too common. Having said that, the cream always comes to the top, and Ann was on the top and in many ways still is. Both JoAnne and I think of her all the time. There’s no doubt that she’s no longer in this consciousness but she has progressed and moved on to a finer one. Her great work will always be here; it will be archival in the truest sense of the word and last to infinity. The next time I see you, you are going to have to lead me on your workshop.

Please see the beautiful tribute from Warren Rosenberg.

To all the ships at sea, health and happiness

Joe DiMaggio

NL - April13-2

Walk in Peace

Hi to all the Ships at Sea,

I just received a phone call from my cousin Gerard and he described the military ceremony for my cousin Denis. We talked for an hour trying to play catch up. A dear friend of mine in Scottsdale is going to go and photograph the stone, in which Denis requested it to say “Walk in Peace”. It doesn’t get better than that, no clichés for my cousin.

Denis J. Dermody: loving husband, father, brother, uncle and great friend to many passed away March 2, 2013 at the age of 68. He was born in Queens, New York to Gerard and Francesca Dermody. Denis is survived by his wife Ann, daughter Maureen, his brother Gerard (Ann), Kevin (Barbara) and numerous nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, sister Maureen and brother in law Frank Testagrossa. Denis spent his childhood in Port Washington, New York where he developed his passion for fishing and being on the water. Denis, a highly decorated Marine served in Vietnam 1967-1968. Among his many awards he earned a Silver Star and Purple Heart. He embraced a career as a firefighter. He was a founding member of Port Washington Fire Medic Company Number 1, after which he was honored with a plaque on an ambulance. He later worked in the printing industry. He was a bon vivant who loved cooking and sharing meals with family and friends. An avid sports fan, Denis also enjoyed golfing. He had an infectious laugh and a gift for storytelling. He will be missed greatly by the many whose lives he’s touched. Memorial services will be held at the National Memorial Cemetery, 23029 N. Cave Creek Rd., Phoenix, on Monday March 11th at 10:30 am. A reception will follow at Rude Family Northwest Mortuary, 4033 N. 19th Ave., Phoenix. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to .http://www.hov.org/

All the Best,

Joe D

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Ann, Don’t Forget to Call


Hi to all the Ships at Sea,

For anyone who didn’t know, Ann Raine was a great photographer, an absolute lovely human being, and a brilliant business women. She had the unique ability to adapt to any and all situations. Last Saturday she made an executive decision to take a long trip. There’s no doubt in my mind that everyone she touches on that trip will fall in love with her. We’ll still be able to talk to her – it’ll just be a slightly different conversation. It’s a little known fact that she was the first member of our Board of Directors – she of course, will continue to be on the Board. When we have our meetings, she will have a vote.

She paid me a compliment once and thanked me for everything that I taught her. In reality, she taught me more. Many of you including Dennis Wheeler, Hugh Brodie, Bobby Kyle, Brian Struble, Larry Malang, David Kenny, Linda Pederson, Dan Horton, Jeff Thomas, John Dryzga, Ralph Mocciola, Monica Cipnic, Dylan, JoAnne Kalish, Lourdes Merson and to be quite honest with you a few hundred others would like to wish you an amazing journey.

Keep that smile on your face and your camera close to your heart. Remember to open up 2 stops for back light.

Joe D & Ann Raine© Linda Pederson

All the Best,

Joe D

You can now follow me on Twitter @dimaggio_photo
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Dedicated to Annie

Hi to All the Ships at Sea,

I never put a name on a photograph nor do I put titles, and for the most part, I don’t dedicate photographs to anyone. Last night JoAnne and I had the opportunity to go visit an old friend, Ann Raine. Ann is one of the most beautiful, lovely, wonderful people I have ever met. In a world before multi-tasking, she was an international horse woman, potter, smart banker, business woman and more recently a great photographer. We went to say hello and we did. She is as beautiful today as when I met her 10 years ago. So I dedicate this photo to Ann, she inspired me to take it. It’s not my usual style. Thanks for the inspiration.

Dedicated to Ann

Dedicated to Ann

All the Best,

Joe D

You can now follow me on Twitter @dimaggio_photo
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Sylvia, Queen of Soul Food, RIP

Approximately three decades ago, I had the pleasure of going to Sylvia’s for the first time with Gordon Parks. Suffice to say, it was a great meal, great conversation, and Sylvia was just so warm and beautiful. Two years later, American Airlines called me to do a photoshoot at Sylvia’s. I walked in; she not only remembered me, but gave me a hug and a kiss. Over the years, I’ve sent hundreds of my friends from all over the world to Sylvia’s. But I was a bad boy; I hadn’t seen Sylvia in over twenty-five years. I walked in with my son Dylan and Dylan’s close friend. They were on their way to Vietnam, so I thought I’d take them out for dinner before going to the airport. I walked in, I didn’t see Sylvia, and my heart stopped. I went to the young lady behind the counter and asked “Is Sylvia here” she said “Yes, she’s sitting in the back.” As I walked over to Sylvia, I smiled and said “Sylvia, you probably don’t…” she stopped me and said “Hi Joe, how are you? Haven’t seen you in a long time.” Hugs and kisses for everybody, including Dylan and his friend Moe, and of course, a great meal. I planned on seeing her in about a month, but I guess that’s not going to happen now. Maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll see her on the other side. Sylvia, have a great trip.

Joe D.

Vito Russo 1946-1990

© Joe DiMaggio

To all the ships at sea, working photographers make photographs for many reasons. One of the number one reasons is money, and it’s not a great motivator. Once every four, five, or six years, you have an opportunity to meet not only a great and powerful person, but a genuinely beautiful human being and you’re asked to do an environmental portrait. In this particular case, that person was Vito Russo. In my opinion, he was possibly the most powerful person on the planet, when it came to being an advocate not only for gay rights, but for pushing the envelope to seek a cure for the dreaded HIV/AIDS. I would love to tell you that we were extremely close friends, but that would be a gross exaggeration. I met him two or three times before I photographed him, and as with all great relationships, my love for him was predicated on respect. Last night at about 10:30, with my eyes starting to drip blood as I was editing 80 gigs of video (throwing out the unacceptable footage), I turned the TV on and there was Vito. Somewhere towards the middle of the documentary, up popped one of the 300 photos I had taken of him over the years. As a filmmaker, I was extremely proud that they held that photo and then zoomed in, and for HBO it was shown for an eternity. Then again, they used it at the end of the piece. Twenty-four years ago, the last thing I remember is Vito and I in a warm embrace at the end of the shoot. Photography is more important than money; it’s history, visual literacy that will not allow us to forget. Sometimes, even I forget the power and beauty of a still photograph.

A Special Place for Pepper

To all the ships at sea; I’d like to share this letter I wrote to my dear friend Bill DeSmedt.

Your book Singularity may not have made the New York Times bestseller list and that’s a shame.

The short story you wrote on Pepper will certainly make the bestseller list in heaven. I know nothing about writing but what I do know, is that when somebody puts their heart and soul into the creative process, it shows. There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Pepper was your dog and you had a very special relationship with her. Over the ten year period I knew Pepper, the two of us had a special relationship also, even if it was only for an hour or two. I will always keep fond memories in my heart for our lost best friend.

In Memory of My Son Joseph

One year ago today, I lost my first born son Joseph. That same day, part of my heart and soul were lost forever. There is no way I can express on how much I miss him.  The photo of Joe eating watermelon was taken the same week he attended a Black Panther rally with me at Yale University.

If none of this makes sense to you it certainly makes no sense to me.

Photos © Joe DiMaggio