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.

© Joe DiMaggio All Rights Reserved

© Joe DiMaggio

Sam by © Sam Garcia


There’s No Crying in Baseball

To All the Ships At Sea

Every once in a while I think I can write.  At least my English professor the first year in college thought I could. I’m pretty sure it’s the only A I’ve gotten (well maybe also in history.)  Then along comes Mark Joseph, one hell of a great writer says the New York Times for sure.  He was on the best seller list.  The man loves baseball!   I’d like to share this piece he sent me the other day.



Adiós Pelota
Baseball withdrawal has been easier than ever this year. After the worst World Series in living memory, I’m scratching my head and wondering how the postseason fizzled. Every single one of my predictions was wrong, which is nothing new, but who could have predicted five errors by Detroit pitchers in five games to hand the series to the worst team ever to win the big banana. The poor TV ratings reflected the low quality of play in damn near freezing weather, and all I can say in favor of St. Louis is that they still have the best uniforms in the National League when they wear red hats and home whites. Why the Cards sometimes wear blue hats is beyond me. I’d like to see the Cards play the Nippon Ham Fighters who won the Japanese World Series. The Yankees and Mets, who could have staged a terrific subway series, both went bust because of injuries and lack of pitching, and the Twins finally ran out of gas. The result: zilch, double zilch and a bullshit pine tar controversy. Egad, what’s a fan to do? Winter ball. Mexico

On Saturday night, October 21, I saw the Venados – the Bucks – of Mazatlán play at home against Los Yaquis of Ciudad Obregón. In a beautiful little stadium jammed to overflowing with 14,000 fans, Mazatlán won 2-1 in a tight, errorless ball game that featured three outrageous calls by the umpires that favored the home team. My friend Larry Banner who lives in Mazatlán bought field level seats ($9) that put us next to the home dugout and behind a chain-link fence within spitting distance of first base. A Yaqui runner beat the throw by a step and the ump called him out. Another Yaqui runner was picked off and was clearly safe, but the ump called him out. And when a Mazatlán runner dashed home on a hit to the outfield, the beautiful throw from right field had him nailed but he was called safe. The visiting manager didn’t make a peep, leaving me to believe that everybody understood that when Mazatlán visits Obregón the calls would favor the home team there.

Mazatlán is an extraordinarily polite city, and the fans were enthusiastic but not rowdy. Noisy, yes, insane, no, considering that before the game guys in yellow vests put buckets of ice and beer every few steps up the aisles in the stands. The Pacifico Brewery, which seems to own Mazatlán, owns the team, and perhaps the league, and you could get a beer by waving your hand, but you had to go to the concessions for a Coke. The baseball was AA at best, maybe good college ball, and no one on the field stood out as a major league talent. Each team in the Mexican Pacific Coast League is allowed 5 foreign players, although the Bucks have 6 (5 gringos and 1 Dominican) and if you wonder why a 32 year old American is playing for Mazatlán, maybe you should watch the film Major League again. The fans didn’t care. The uniforms said Mazatlán – and Pacifico and Señor Frogs and Coca-Cola and Bancomer and Mega, so much advertising they looked like soccer uniforms – but the best part was the end of the game when 2000 kids ran onto the field. The players hung around and signed autographs for 30 minutes until the lights went out to get everyone off the field. This was pure bush-league baseball in a bush-league town, a little time capsule with no million-dollar contracts, no hissy fits, no posturing, and no bullshit except for the umpires, at least on this night, when time stopped and it was 1953 again.

Mark Joseph is an American novelist. He is the author of To Kill the Potemkin, originally published in 1986. As a paperback, it spent four weeks on The New York Times bestseller list in July and August 1987.

He later published the novels Mexico 21 (1990), Typhoon (1991), Deadline Y2K (1999), and The Wild Card (2011).

Born in 1946 in Vallejo, California, he is a 1967 graduate of the University of California, Berkeley.

Ringside or Ring Sight? That Is the Question.

_76I2822 e

© Dylan DiMaggio

The main protagonist in my film “in this corner” is Harry Keitt. Harry is a former heavyweight boxer who now trains fighters. The fighter he is working with today is “Big Baby” Miller, who on Friday night was fighting for the WBO and ____ Heavyweight championship. We called our agent and requested two ringside credentials, one for Dylan and myself. The venue agreed (I told the promoter that if we couldn’t have two at ringside that I would not cover the fight. He assured me no problem). The day of the fight, we were informed that there would be only one ringside position and one auxiliary (which was supposed to be a great position.) We picked up our credentials at 6 o’clock. I made the executive decision to have Dylan shoot ringside and I would shoot from the auxiliary position. I believe the auxiliary poisiton was approximately 250 yards from the ring. You would think that Dylan got the best part of the deal until you realize that the only fight we HAD to cover didn’t start until after 12 o’clock midnight. Someone once asked what it was like to be a professional working photographer.  I’ve heard ten photographers say the same thing, “Hurry up and wait!” And thats what you do you – hurry up and wait. Being up since 5 AM with no dinner and it being after midnight the next day which was Saturday morning, after seven hours of standing and no break, nor bathroom is not the easiest thing in the world. Well, the reality is Dylan kicked ass and took names.  For the record, ten minutes before the main event, the promoter came over and said, “Here’s your ringside credential.”  The interesting part of it is that after waiting six hours, I was cold, not an excuse – I’m not complaining… just explaining. The reality is, Dylan outshot me.

As a footnote: That is just this one time. Rest assured, next time I’m going to try and blow his doors off! The question is, well you know what the question is, but let’s be clear about one thing: I’m not hanging him up just yet. Maybe in ten or fifteen years…but not yet… I take my beret off to Dylan. Once, just once.

© Dylan Michael

© Dylan DiMaggio

© Dylan Michael

© Dylan DiMaggio


© Dylan DiMaggio

A.J. Foyt: Four Time Winner of the Indy 500

aj foyt B&W

© Joe DiMaggio

To all the ships at sea,

I’ve had the privilege of shooting the Indy 500 twenty plus years in a row. I missed a few years, went back and did three more.  I vowed the next one would be the 100th anniversary. Well, I’M NOT DOING IT!  Why? It’s not the priority it used to be. I hope it’s a great, safe race, and hope there’s a new winner. Here are a few snaps of the great A.J. Foyt. The photo of A.J. hitting the linkage was during the third pit stop where his crew could not free the shifting linkage. The sight of A.J. coming down the pits, pulling his seat belt, and helmet off, and jumping out of the car while it was still rolling absolutely horrified me. I don’t think you could do that today, but I love the photograph.

@ Joe DiMaggio

@ Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

The Closest Finish, circa 1982.

Some Things Never Change


© Joe DiMaggio All Rights Reserved

I was in the process of shooting a national ad for Xerox and I was working with a great art director named Bob Green. I desperately wanted to shoot the ad in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but Bob wanted to shoot it in Florida. Guess where we shot it? We shot it where the client wanted it to be photographed. Why? Because he’s paying the bills and it’s always sunny in Philadelphia. Oops! I mean Florida. It was a long, difficult and tedious shoot- one of those shoots where you know you’re going to get only one usable frame out of thirty images. Everything just has to be perfect and, as we all know, there is nothing perfect in this world. Well, maybe something… Pete Turner, Neil Leifer… okay, I’m just trying to be funny. Two really great photographers. The only way we could actually get the angle that the client wanted was to get a hundred and fifty foot crane and go over the high tension wires. So at this point, obviously, I didn’t want to tell Bob Green that I was deathly afraid of heights. The way I get around my problem with heights is to put a camera around my neck, and then I feel I am protected from the elements; it may not work for everybody, but it does work for me. The ad campaign went on to win an Art Director’s award. Bob was happy, the client was happy, the buyer was happy – me, not so much. Welcome to the world of photography, where everything is a compromise.

To all the ships at sea, this is part of a chapter in my new book, “Joe DiMaggio: Recalling My Adventures from the Golden Age to the Digital Age of Photography”.

Some of the most time consuming and frustrating things when it comes to advertising photography are the one, two, and three days of preproduction, the day of test shooting, the selection of models, the half day of wardrobe fitting, waiting for the right light, lens selection, the exact fit into the layout… and when you finally nail it, there’s a combination of the two R’s – rush and relief, rapidly followed by a serious cocktail or maybe two.

Then the artwork goes back to New York, and the art department decides to write the Gettysburg Address on your photograph. I’m pretty sure they could have gotten a few more words in. It’s all good.

Xerox Assignment Saatchi 495

Xerox Ad © Joe DiMaggio All Rights Reserved

Melchior the Great

Melchior DiGiacomo has had an extremely amazing career, it would be fair to say that he’s one of the finest tennis/sports photographers in the United States.  Some of his black & white work is amazing.  He’s a great street photographer and has the ability to make a fine photographs in some of the most adverse conditions.





The Junior Tennis Foundation (JTF) will recognize four integral members of the tennis community on Friday, April 24, 2015 at 7 p.m. during the 28th Annual Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame celebration at the Beach Point Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y.

Mel DiGiacomo has been a staple at the US Open for the last 44 years. Whether it is down on the court, in the stands or directly alongside the players, DiGiacomo is there with his camera in hand. In addition to the US Open, DiGiacomo has traveled the world to photograph a variety of sports and events.

The North Bergen, N.J. native currently lives in Harrington Park, N.J., where he has proudly resided for the last 40 years. 

“It’s remarkable that Harrington Park, a 4,800 person town, has two residents in the Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame,” DiGiacomo said. “Neil Amdur, the former sports editor for The New York Times and me.”

DiGiacomo began his career at CBS as an usher and worked his way up to production supervisor for “60 Minutes.” After working for CBS for ten years, he decided to become a photographer when he was 27 years old.  

“My friend photographed my semi-pro football practices on the weekends and I always made fun of his photos,” DiGiacomo said. “One day, he joked ‘if you’re so good, get a camera,’ so I bought one, put it together and told him that’s what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.”

A year later, DiGiacomo moved to England to photograph rugby, then moved back to the United States and photographed hockey at Madison Square Garden. 

“A publisher hired me to make a hockey book,” DiGiacomo said. “Gene Scott, founder of Tennis Week magazine, saw it and wanted the same thing, only for tennis.”

DiGiacomo didn’t play tennis and, at the time, had never seen a tennis match. As someone who was familiar photographing football, DiGiacomo began shooting tennis matches with a football lens. The different lens gave him a new perspective to the game, which made him take photos in a way no one else did.

“In those days, you could get close to the players,” DiGiacomo said. “I used to shoot everything in black and white and in a very photo-journalistic style, which was another thing people hadn’t been doing.”

DiGiacomo’s photos have been featured in several publications including, Sports Illustrated, Tennis Magazine, Newsweek and Life Magazine. His new style of shooting and vivacious personality greatly influenced his fellow photographers.

“He’s a wonderful person to be around because he is so friendly,” Bob Litwin, a close friend of DiGiacomo’s said. “Even with really famous people he becomes a friend, not just a photographer.”

Throughout DiGiacomo’s time at the Virginia Slims Circuit and US Open he interacted with several professional players, writers and fans including Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Jimmy Connors, Arthur Ashe, Martina Navratilova and Mary Carillo. 

Outside of sports, DiGiacomo photographed a number of weddings, specifically tennis weddings. The first wedding he shot was Jeanie Brinkman’s, the director of the Virginia Slims Circuit. 

“I didn’t think too much of it,” DiGiacomo said. “Then, 20 years later, I was asked to shoot Jimmy Connors’ manager Karen Scott’s wedding, and more stemmed from there.”

Pam Shriver, a former professional player, Richard Evans, a longtime tennis writer and Gene Scott each requested DiGiacomo for their big day. 

DiGiacomo values all of his work, but is most proud of the impact he has made in Antigua photographing the tennis tournament at Curtain Bluff. In his first year shooting there, he noticed the ball boys and girls had bare feet, so he followed them home to their village, Old Road. 

“I ended up doing a book that had nothing to do with tennis, but also had everything to do with tennis,” DiGiacomo said. “I was down there for tennis, but I went into the village to document their stories.”

The proceeds from DiGiacomo’s photographs go into the “Old Road Fund” to benefit the children in the village. When the fund earns enough money, it goes toward helping the children attend college. 

DiGiacomo has always supported tennis and the people he has met through tennis. He raised both of his children to become tennis players because he values being part of the tennis community and enjoys that tennis is a sport his kids, who are now adults, can play for years to come.    

“I owe a lot to tennis because it changed my life,” DiGiacomo said. “It has given me so much, my family too.”



Neil Leifer, One of a Kind

There’s no doubt that Neil Leifer is one of the all time great sports photographers.  I’m pretty sure he has at least half a million Sports Illustrated covers alone, and I think it’s fair to say that there aren’t any weak ones.  Neil came up with what I consider a great documentary on four photographers who have photographed every super bowl.  Photographers and filmmakers should have great hand-eye coordination and should always be in the right place at the right time.  Neil knows how to do that, but he goes one step further, he’s a visionary.  I would imagine hundreds of photographers would have said, “Wow, I wish I would have thought of that.”  He thought of that and made it happen.  His film is called Keepers of the Streak features the only four photographers in the world that have covered all 48 Super Bowls, starting from one in 1967 to 2014.  It stars Walter Iooss, Mickey Palmer, Tony Tomsic, and John Biever.






Pocono Raceway Photo Workshop Saturday May 24th

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

My next upcoming Workshop is an in-depth Sports and Action Workshop at the Pocono 500 Racetrack.  This workshop is for a small elite group and is for intermediate to advanced photographers only please.  Learn the In’s and Outs of photographing auto racing.  We will have credentials and great access to the track.  We will be photographing Go Karts and later on, in-the-day, Stock Cars that will be going at high speeds. This will be a very special action packed workshop and a fun day!  For more information on the Workshop

Formula One Grand Prix Multi-media Presentation by Joe DiMaggio

Alex Ferguson Retires

To all the shjps at sea, my first experience with soccer was meeting Pelé at the airport and following him for two weeks as he attempted to make soccer a main street sport in the United States.

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

“London (CNN) — English soccer’s most successful manager — Manchester United’s Alex Ferguson — is retiring at the end of the season after more than a quarter of a century at the helm, the club announced Wednesday.

The 71-year-old Scot has managed the English club, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and loved by millions of fans around the world, from Manchester to Manila and Montreal, since 1986.

Everton manager David Moyes is the bookmakers’ favorite to succeed his compatriot, and the 50-year-old will be confirmed as the next United boss on Thursday according to widespread British media reports.

During his 26 years in charge, Ferguson — a supporter of Britain’s Labour Party who’s renowned for dressing down players with the “hairdryer treatment” — has won more than 30 trophies, including 13 league championships.

Many fans took to Twitter to voice their appreciation, using the handle #thankyousiralex. He became Sir Alex when knighted by the queen more than a decade ago for his services to the game.

‘Thank you for everything,’ say Manchester United fans

As well as dominating on the pitch, Ferguson has helped build the century-old soccer club into a huge business operation whose progress is followed on stock exchanges around the world.

Its shares dipped nearly 5% in early trading Wednesday.

The Old Trafford club is owned by the American Glazer family, who oversaw the club’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange last August.

For the 2011-2012 season, United increased revenues by £14.2 million to £117.6 million ($182.4), the highest of any club in the Premier League.

But it lost the top spot as the world’s most valuable sports franchise in this year’s Forbes list to Spanish soccer club Real Madrid. Forbes valued Manchester United at $3.17 billion, still ahead of Barcelona, another Spanish soccer club, and two U.S. outfits, the New York Yankees in Major League Baseball and the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL.

Ferguson will bow out after the club’s last game of the season, an away match against West Bromwich Albion, on May 19, according to a statement from Manchester United.”