A friend, Jim Morton Sr., a really good photographer did this portrait and I would like to share it.
This is what Jim wrote me when he sent it along. “I was asked to photograph our local Fire Department. They needed head shots for their department folders and a group Image of all current firemen and the Mayor along with the chaplain of the Department.
After doing the formal portraits I asked if anyone would like to do some pictures with their fallout gear on in the engine bays. All of the firemen said they would like to do it so it was time to have some fun. I used the Dynalite Baja B4 with the Dynalite 47 inch Grand soft box. I asked Captain Eric Pearson to sit on the front bumper of the new department Pumper. When looking through my viewfinder I noticed his reflection in the grill, and asked him move forward about 3-4 inched so his reflection would be seen completely. I never told him why I wanted him to move because I wanted to surprise him when the image was printed.
This was not the original image I had in mind but once I saw it, I knew it was the shot.”
The great John Dominis was one of the greatest sports photographers of our time and one of my idols. After many, many years of having John give me advice, one day he turned out to be Director of Photography at Sports Illustrated. I will share two of his mantras . The first: Anybody who can shoot sports can shoot a flower, they don’t move; a tree, they don’t move; a building, they don’t move. If you can shoot sports you can shoot anything.” Which reminds me of a line from “Dodgeball”: “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.” There I go again, trying to do stand up… The second lecture Dominis gave me, and I quote, “If you ever shoot a frame for me with a 15 mm lens, I will blank blank blank.” For purposes of the blog, I’ll leave it out.
What does this have to do with Bobby Kyle? Bobby is a world famous blues player. Every lesson I learned in photographing sports I bring to music. Peak action, sharpness, depth of field- all of these things come together. His new album is totally, absolutely amazing. It’s his heart, soul, and his life. It’s great. In about two months, I’ll put up a sample of the album. But not right now.
I 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.
Well I guess it’s time to take my Beret off for the last time for an old friend Kodachrome Film. Yes, it’s true that I’ve not shot a roll of Kodachrome in 10 years but in the beginning, I was not only weaned on Tri-X but Kodachrome I and II. When it came to color film, my film of choice for over 30 years was Kodachrome 25. I will never forget the look on the Director of Photography, for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, John Dominis’ face when I turned in 100 rolls of Kodachrome. At the time, I had finished up an assignment photographing the Wittington Brothers, who coincidentally inherited 900 million dollars and won LeMains in their class. It was a feature piece I was working on and I did not have a drop dead deadline so I chose to shoot with Kodachrome. Another fond remembrance, was Max at the old, old B and H I had a standing order with Max of 100 rolls of Kodachrome 25, 100 rolls of Kodachrome 64, 50 rolls of Velvia 50, and 50 rolls of Fuji 100. There would be a line 2 deep at B and H at their 4 cash registers at the time. Max would see me come into the store and yell, “Sorry I kept you so long waiting, Mr. DiMaggio, your order is ready” and everybody on line got very unhappy as I moved to the front of the line. I really liked Max.
Both JoAnne and I certainly don’t have an exact count of our photo archives, but we have to have over 1 million, two hundred thousand photos. We probably will still be making scans from Kodachrome for many years to come. I guess I had this roll still lying around because it was a 20 exposure roll and not 36 frames