Peter B. Kaplan R.I.P.

To All The Ships At Sea –

Peter B. Kaplan with Kasuku © Joe DiMaggio Photographer Dick Drew looking on.

The question is – “Who would you want to be in a foxhole beside you?” My obvious answer would be JoAnne Kalish, my second choice would be my dear friend Bill Shatner and my third choice would be Peter B. If it came to a photographic foxhole, it would be Peter B. He was rough, tough, rowdy, crazy and a no bullshit person. My kind of guy! You always knew where you stood with Peter B. He was straight-forward and to the point and if you had to go into federal court on a copyright case and needed a witness he was the man! The other side of Peter B was a sweet, lovely, wonderful caring person. Last but not least, one hell of a great photographer! A little known fact about Peter is that when he started out he was deathly afraid of heights and so was I! I would always tease Peter and ask him if the only thing you could photograph has to be in 30 feet of cement and steel and be something that did not move?

Approximately 5 decades ago Peter showed up on my doorstep wanting to borrow a Gitzo tripod and 15 foot aluminum pole, a Nikon F and a 16mm lens with an extended cable release. I supplied him with all these tools and he went out to photograph the torch at Lady Liberty. I joked with him and told him I wanted half the copyright but that sure as hell was not going to happen! About 10 years later I snuck up in the torch at Lady Liberty and made my own photograph. Peter threw a fit and wanted to know, how the hell I got up to the torch? I explained to him he wasn’t the only photographer in New York with a New York City Police Press pass. Peter will be missed by his wife Sharon, his two children Ricki and Gabe and several photo editors that used to meet at the Algonquin hotel names withheld.

Over the years my dear friend Peter B pissed off a lot of people including a lot of magazines, ad agencies and Fortune 500 companies. He was the number one advocate of copyright protection. If someone infringed on his copyright, watch out because they were going to lose and pay for it! Ninety-five percent of the time he was 100% right! We all screw up the other 5%. Peter B was always there for me and I tried to be there for him. There is no doubt he’s climbing the parapets in heaven and trying to get even higher for that very special photograph. Peter B. say hello to Gene Smith, David Douglas Duncan, Eisie, John Dominis, John Morris, Ernest Haas, Ralph Morse Bill Epperidge, and Carl Mydans to name a few.

© Joe DiMaggio
Peter B, Kaplan, JoAnne Kalish, and Joe DiMaggio © Bill Eppridge. The Photographic Fox hole