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!

Old Dog New Trick (New Light)

©DiMaggio

To all the Ships at Sea,

 There are times in a a person’s life that may result in an earth shattering major change.  In a couple weeks I am scheduled to experience one of these changes.
You see, I am blind in my left eye.  I was born with crossed eye and had surgery at age two to uncross my eyes.  At three I developed lazy eye syndrome. I had a second surgery and a patch on my right eye to try to make the lazy eye work properly.  Somewhere around 5 years old I got German measles.  During that time a nurse accidentally left the blinds open which destroyed the vision in my left eye (or so I was told.)  So, I have been blind from age 6 until today.  Most people rarely notice because my left eye does follow light.  A couple years ago, I started having problems seeing through my right eye.  I was told I had a cataract.  After seeing six specialists, I was told no one would do surgery on me because I only had vision in one eye which was quite devastating.  Well,  two years have passed and my vision has gotten worse which would be a problem for anyone let alone a one eyed photographer.
A friend of ours, Ken Ferris, a fine cameraman, had cataract surgery.  JoAnne happened to run into him and in conversation mentioned to him about my eyes.  He said I had to see his eye doctor!  I figured it was just another waste of time and money but JoAnne insisted.  A couple days later I ran into Ken at the gym.  He said you have to go see my eye Doctor, his name is Dr. Liegner!  Well Ken was pretty convincing.  JoAnne wanted to accompany me to the office to meet this Doctor.  I told her I was old enough to vote and could go by myself but once again, she insisted and she explained that she would not be sitting in the waiting room!  They ran me through approximately two hours of tests with a thorough and efficient staff.  I was then told the doctor was going to be in in a few minutes.  He came in and asked me, “How do you see out of your left eye?”  I said,  “I don’t, I’m blind in that eye.”  He then asked how about your right eye?  He then explained that my right eye is now 20/400 and pointed out the cataract and the damage in that eye to JoAnne.  First thing I’m going to do is explain to you that you left eye is perfect. There’s nothing wrong with that eye.  With that I became even more confused.  He said,  I’ll simplify it, and explained that I did not lose my vision to German measles, I lost my vision in my left eye because my brain would not comprehend vision in the lower left where my eye pointed and that part of my brain said we’re only going to look through the right side.  He then told me he could do a procedure, so I would have close up vision in my left eye and in two weeks after he would do another procedure to give me 20/20 vision in my right eye! I will see colors and shapes like I’ve never seen.  The only drawback would be that I would see things 12% smaller as I’ve been wearing glasses all my life and then joked about something else probably looking smaller as well.
Well this Doctor is a true visionary and I’m truly excited and looking forward to my new lease on life!

© DiMaggio

© DiMaggio

 

Pete Turner – The Great!

Pete Turner © Tim Mantoani

To All the Ships At Sea,

In my opinion the greatest color photographer in my lifetime has to be Pete Turner. Turner was a visionary who thought outside the box before people even knew what the box was. What he could not photograph, he found a way of building, designing, and enhancing to make it work. As a snotty, wet behind the ears, photography wanna-be back 5 decades ago, someone in my photography lecture asked me the question, “Who do you think is the greatest photographer?” I looked the person in the eyes and then everyone around him and said, “there are only 2 great photographers, Pete Turner and Joe DiMaggio. Looking back at it “ I can’t believe that came out of my mouth! Yes, Pete Turner was correct. Not me so much. It was a cocky and silly reply and in retrospect, totally unacceptable.

I will share this – I’ve cursed Pete Turner virtually every night for as long as I can remember. One day, JoAnne and I were at a cocktail party in New York City sponsored by Aperture and Pete and his lovely wife Reine were there. I went over with JoAnne to say hello to Pete. I said Pete, “I just want you to know that I curse you every night.” Turner looks at me like I have 3 heads and asks me, “Why?” I said, “Let me explain, when JoAnne asked me to take out the garbage, I said son of a bitch!” “I bet $#$@&*! Pete Turner doesn’t have to take the garbage out every night!” His wife chimed in, “Really?” “Pete has to take the garbage out every night as well.” And we all laughed! In my opinion no one can come close to Peter Turner’s talent. He was the best color photographer EVER!

Heaven will be a lot more colorful from now on.

Alan Kaplan vs Peter B. Kaplan

© Joe DiMaggio

To All the Ships at Sea,

For whatever reason photographers rarely get together and socialize with each other.  Wow, what a shame that is.  Alan Kaplan, an internationally known photographer has been our neighbor for about 15 years. Only recently did we get together to break bread.  I’m only sorry we didn’t do this sooner. Alan’s wife Wendy is an international producer of films and a world class model.  Everybody knows my partner JoAnne and as Bill Shatner would say “also one of the finest photographers in the United States.”  Our lunch was wonderful as well as the conversation. Alan is one of the few intellectual photographers.  He’s not a button pusher he puts a whole lot of thought into his photography and his place on the planet.  Wendy is diametrically opposite – she’s a very quiet woman of few words, totally laid back, with no particular positions on politics, the human condition, or most matters.  NOT!  Wendy is very outspoken and dynamic. Don’t get on her bad side because she’s a tough broad which is a good thing!  Alan’s studio was one floor apart from my friend Peter B. Kaplan’s -another world class photographer and also was next to the artist who put the capital © in copyright but that’s separate blog.  That evening the four of us continued onto Malibu ranch to photograph a rodeo and had a great time which was   followed by a late night dinner at the Fauchére.  It doesn’t get better than that.

In a month or so Alan will be having a show on Ethiopia at Lenox Hill Hospital.

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

 

Today Was A Catch-28!

To All the Ships At Sea –

Pretty sure most of you read Joseph Heller’s book CATCH-22.  Well today I had a Catch-28!  Called Amazon and explained my name was spelled wrong in my Amazon book listing and the publisher’s name was wrong.  They said no problem…please hold.  I was on hold for four minutes and decided I should water my basil…which I did…still on hold. With that Peter Poremba, the CEO of Dynalite called and I abruptly told him, I’d call him back.  Seven minutes into my hold,  Al Stegmeyer from Upstrap called. I also blew him off.  Their music was starting to drive me crazy so I decided to go brush my teeth.  Still waiting… I gargled.  We are now 12 minutes into the hold and I figured well… I’m in the bathroom…. Now 15 minutes into it, I decided to take a quick shower. I quickly, jumped out of the tub and wrapped a towel around me and my friend Sam Garcia called.  Also blew him off and said I’d get back.  Went outside, still waiting, I watered my tomatoes, and went back into the studio. With that JoAnne asked me where I had been?  I simply said I’ve been on hold.  Twenty four minutes later, the lovely lady told me there was nothing they could do about it and to call the Publisher and tell them to make the changes.  She said it would probably take till July to implement them.  The first line in my new book FILL THE FRAME  is six months ago, I was 20 years old.  That’s how fast life is…light speed plus.  Time is like gold – more valuable than material things.

If you want to read a great book (FILL THE FRAME) – see reviews.    Attached link to short video – http://FILL THE FRAME https://vimeo.com/220041332

Live, Love, Laugh & be Happy – hold on a minute I will get back to you.  film is 28 seconds… time is very valuable…

A Great Friend Don Nelson

 

To all the Ships at Sea-

  • 2017 has not been the greatest year for many of my friends. It’s been a great year for me but not so good for them!  My dear friend Don Nelson, one of the most powerful, beautiful human beings, with a awesome sense of humor has gone to the great darkroom in the sky, making a short detour  to Grandfather mountain where he helped thousands of photographers over the years.  He’s joined his beautiful wife Christine , and they are now traveling together into infinity.  A quick story about Don, back in the 80’s it was not uncommon for him to pop in and out of the White House.  One day he popped in giving the press secretary Larry Speakes an acorn asking him to give it to the old man.  Larry said, it just an acorn.  Don told him to crack it on the desktop (in those days desktops were made out of oak not glass.)  He cracked it and out popped a condom.  He laughed and said the old man is on his way to Andrew’s and inquired how many more he had.  Don gave him maybe 6 or 7.  Don headed back to Virginia  & maybe thirty minutes later he got a phone call from Air force One. In those days car phones looked like house phones.  A woman asked if he’d accept a call from the President of the United States. Of course Don said yes. Ronald Reagon got on the line laughing so hard and asked Don if he could get him a couple dozen so he could send them out to his friends?  Don I loved you then and I love you now.  I will come visit you at Grandfather Mountain.  Live, Love, Laugh and Be Happy.  Life is great!

Don & President Reagan in Limo

THE BORSCHT BELT by Marisa Scheinfeld

Book by Marissa Scheinfeld

To All the Ships at Sea

My studio manager heard me talking about a book by Marisa Scheinfeld. Suddenly what appeared under my tree was Marissa’s book which was a wonderful gift. Now to give you a little background.  Marissa’s dad Barry has been my sports medicine Doctor for the last three decades.  A great Doctor and aka Dr. Blues.  What I find unbelievable is that last week was Hugh Brodie’s birthday and my next blog is going to be what transpired at this party.  You can’t make this up.  Marisa as an aspiring photographer who came to my studio and delivered Jazz man Hugh Brodie for a portrait session for his new album.  It is a small world.  Here it’s many years later and she’s not only an accomplished photographer but now has a great book of her own as well.  It’s all about history.  Here is a link to an e mail I just received

http://us7.campaign-archive1.com/?u=44c897f59558216cdcb99fefd&id=5667e00aae&e=8d48d380fd

This was part of an e mail from Marisa – On this very snowy East Coast winter’s day, I hope this finds you well! I am happy to announce a second leg of book talks extending through July of 2017. Dates are still being added including a series of events slated for the Catskill region this summer and a major exhibition in 2018. More to follow in my spring/summer newsletter.

Chromogenic Prints from the entire series are available in multiple sizes. For more information about print sales, book events, and exhibitions please message me.

Until then, stay warm and well and I hope to see you at a book talk!

Marisa

February 12: JCC Manhattan, New York, NY
February 15: JCC Mid-Westchester, Scarsdale, NY *
March 17: Temple Israel, Lawrence, NY
April 2: Yiddish Book Center, Amherst, MA

Book by Marissa Scheinfeld
April 3: Archaeological Institute of America, Scarsdale, NY
April 29: Orangeburg Library, Orangeburg, NJ
April 30:  Congregation B’nai Tzedek, Potomac, MD
May 17:  New York Public Library, New York, NY
June 7: JCC Central NJ, Scotch Plains, NJ
July 16: Catskill Center, Arkville, NY

 

 

January 18th: Somebody’s Birthday

© Sam Garcia

To all the ships at sea,

As I’ve told you many times, I’m the luckiest guy in the world. 95% of all my friends are artists, photographers, blues and jazzmen, writers, poets, sculptors, boxers, and occasionally a copyright attorney. I’ve had a very long friendship with Sam Garcia. As a matter of fact, it goes back six decades. Well, we know that’s impossible because I’m only 29 years old… so obviously, I’ve misspoken. Sam, a very fine photographer, sometimes tends to continuously remind me of things. Maybe he feels that he has a responsibility to me. Hell, maybe that’s a good thing. The photo in the blog is a candid shot of Jay Maisel, copy written by Sam Garcia. I’m pretty sure that everybody who reads this blog knows who Jay is- one of the finest photographers in the last six or seven decades. And today, he’s 39 years old. Well Jay, wishing you one hell of a great birthday. Give Sam a hug and a squeeze for me.

RIP Photographer Howard Bingham by Joe DiMaggio

To All the Ships at Sea,

© Kenneth Lambert, AP

I’d like to share a story. My son Dylan came home from school from 4th grade class with a unusual request. He asked that I get Muhammad Ali to call all the kids in his class.  I told him that would not be easy.  He said please, “I’d like you to do this.” I called my good friend Bert Sugar – “Mr. Boxing”  and the “Bertster” tried to reach out to Ali, but was unable to connect.  He said, “Joe on a conference call we will phone Howard Bingham” (Ali’s photographer.)  I had met Howard a few times but we were not close friends.  We spoke to Howard and he said he’d see what he could do. He asked me, what time and on what phone number?”  I told him approximately 1:05 on Thursday afternoon & gave him the number. I figured there was a very slim chance of this happening.  I was told the call went through the speakers and sure enough It was Muhammad Ali talking to all the kids in Dylan’s grade class.

There are very few people and this goes for Bert Sugar, Howard Bingham and Muhammad Ali that would extend themselves for a bunch of kids.  I’m blessed knowing people like this.  I might add, it is mainly due to people I’ve met through photography.  Bert Sugar died on my birthday a few years ago, Muhammad Ali died this year and now Howard Bingham died December 15 this year.  I casually mentioned this story to my friend Sam Garcia and he insisted I do a blog on Howard, which I was going to do anyway.  He said you can tell your people from me, that Howard was one of the sweetest most self effacing people he had ever met.  He always remembered everyones’ name, was a genuinely sweet individual, and one hell of a great photographer.

We’ll have a 10 count tonight for Howard.  Attached you will find a short video I did in Cuba a few weeks ago at Kid Chocolate Gym.  https://vimeo.com/193916645

© Joe DiMaggio All Rights Reserved

© Joe DiMaggio

Sam by © Sam Garcia

 

Michael

Mike Phililps forblog copy

© Joe DiMaggio

To all the ships at sea,

“Oh no, here he goes again repeating himself.” Guys, I really try not to do that, it just seems to work out. This world is moving at light speed. One of my closest friends, Mike Philips,unfortunately passed away 10 years ago and I never saw this obituary (found below) on Mike. JoAnne found it on the web and sent it to me. Michael was an unbelievably great photographer. He had one of the most amazing studios on Cedar Alley – it had to be 12,00 square feet. I had a small room by the elevator (it was designed to bring up a car), down the block from Tommy’s. I really loved that S.O.B. Above my desk are two photos of Michael. He knows why they are there, and I know why they are there, but I’m not telling. Attached is a couple of photos; the last photo is one that I think Michael would have really loved. By the way, I never title photos but this one is titled Mike 47.

Mike Phillips & Maggie 050 copy mike phil 1

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

“Mike Phillips

January 13, 2006 in Photographers Remembered

A key technical advisor for Nikon Professional Services, died at his San Francisco home on January 9, 2006 . He was 60 years old. His body was found by a NPS worker at his home after failing to appear at the booth for Nikon at the annual Apple MacWorld Conference. It was reported that he had some health issues for the past several years.

He spent his entire professional career with Nikon, starting with the company in 1970. In addition to acting as liaison between Nikon and professional photographers, he was often asked by Nikon to shoot major events such as the Olympics, World Series, Super Bowls, Kentucky Derbies, Cape Canaveral launches and many more. He helped hundreds of photographers in both camera and lens equipment loaners and technical assistance. He also had a vast knowledge of every generation of Nikon cameras as well as digital photography information.

Mike was a long-time major supporter of the San Francisco Bay Area Press Photographers Association. He was instrumental in getting Nikon to donate a Nikon camera as the award for the Greg Robinson Memorial Student Photographer of the Year Award since its inception. He also was responsible for the donation of thousands of dollars of Nikon ware for door prizes at various SFBAPPA events as well as sponsoring numerous luncheons. Mike was also a speaker at every annual SFBAPPA Digital Workshop.

A native of San Francisco, he attended college at U.C. Davis and San Jose State University. He is survived by his mother, Marie Phillips Japs of Davis; his sister Suzanne Finigan of San Francisco; his brother Kirk Phillips and nephew Collin, both of Northern California.

There will be no formal service planned at this time. A wake is pending. At his request, any memorial contributions may be made to a charity of your choice.

San Francisco Chronicle contributed to this story.” 

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio