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

 

Albert Maysles Documentary Filmmaker

Albert Maysles Home © Joe DiMaggio7580e

Al Maysles © Joe DiMaggio

Al Maysles © Joe DiMaggio

Al Maysles © Joe DiMaggio

I remember the day, the time, and exactly where I was the day JFK was killed.  I remember the day, the time, and exactly where I was when W. Gene Smith passed away.  Well, I’m sitting in my studio and it’s 3:25 PM, the first sunny day in weeks –  a blistering 34 degrees and I just found out that Albert Maysles passed away.

In my humble opinion Albert Maysles was the father of modern documentary film along with his talented brother David.  They did some amazing films over an illustrious career that spanned six plus decades.  My son Dylan interned with Al.  We attended a cocktail party and Dylan introduced me to him.  It was like meeting royalty.  It never ceases to amaze me the greatest talents can also be warm, lovely, not pretentious people.  I asked Al for some advice on my film “In This Corner” and he became a technical adviser for me .  He was kind enough to invite us to his home where we did a short interview and a few still photographs which I will share with you.

The world has lost a great filmmaker and a great man!  There is no doubt in my mind that Al is now shooting a documentary with another great director.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/07/movies/albert-maysles-pioneering-documentarian-dies-at-88.html?_r=0

Albert Maysles with Joe DiMaggio © Dylan DiMaggio

Al Maysles with Joe DiMaggio © Dylan DiMaggio

Wheeler at MOMA

I know everyone who attended the photo retreat on Memorial Day weekend- Every person, to a man and a woman all said the same thing. They absolutely loved Dennis Wheeler. The idea of sharing my 30 plus years relationship with Dennis with the students worked out better than I expected. To say Dennis is a master of the arts would be an understatement. He’s a Renaissance man on steroids. Every time I feel a visual block getting ready to bite me on the butt I call Dennis and invite myself to his farm, where he proceeds to motivate me to get off my duff and start producing work.

I sat listening to every word that Dennis spoke and watching the faces of the participants and guests at the party. It was a beautiful thing. Here are a couple of comments.

“Thank you for inviting me to the Retreat/Party.  It was an enjoyable experience, in which I learned a great deal about photography, creativity and myself.  Meeting Dennis Wheeler gave me new insight into questions that remained unanswered until his down to earth, realism in his lecture.  

“The Retreat was a great success on all levels.  Hope to see you on June 12, 2011 in Lower Manhattan. All the best.” 

     ~Ralph Mocciola

“A special thank you to Dennis Wheeler for demonstrating that creativity does not stop at 60 – whatever – years old!”

    ~Linda Pedersen

“It is hard to put into words what this past visit with you has meant.  I find the below a step in the process of putting into words what occurred at your home and Learning Center.  That said, I look forward to further workshops that explore what the below author suggests, and what Dennis Wheeler demonstrated.”

     ~David Kenny

“I had a wonderful time, learned a lot, got to exchange ideas with a great group of photographers, had an opportunity to listen and learn from an accomplished artist (Dennis Wheeler)…”

     ~Ann Raine

Thank you for a most wonderful day, I think it was better than any of us could have imagined.  It was a great experience to sit around and talk about the arts and meet and spend time with Dennis, and to be topped off with some great music with Bobby and the boys.  But the best was the hospitality you, Joe and Dylan exhibited by opening your home to us and ensuring that we all had a marvelous day.  Thanks again, and look forward to seeing everyone again, real soon.”

     ~Jeffery Thomas