Happy New Year

To All The Ships At Sea –

I had an old friend and when we’d have a party or event everybody would say, “If he’s not late, he’s not coming.”  That’s my way of apologizing for this late blog.

January 1st to me is similar to January 2nd, 3rd, or 5th.  I don’t get very excited about January 1st.  My dear friend Dennis Wheeler, who is also my mentor, my art historian, my collaborator had a great day.  Unannounced two New York City Doctors showed up at his Gallery and bought two original Wheeler’s.  Much to his surprise after they left, a local businessman came by and also purchased another original Wheeler.  It doesn’t get better than that!  Dennis is one of the finest artists of our time and has the greatest amount of flexibility.  There is nothing he can’t do with a great variety of materials.  He can do it all and does it very well.  When Dennis does well – I do well!  I’m always happy for him.  Thanks Dennis for sharing your January 1st sales.

On January 3rd I received a Magazine assignment (really?)  I think we should get together and buy a lottery ticket.  In a perfect world this blog should have come out the evening of January 1st.

See link to article on Dennis Wheeler 

Photographer and Nice Guy Shelly Katz

Photographer Shelly Katz

To All the Ships at Sea,

Approximately 4 months ago, my friend Sam called me and told me that an old friend Shelly Katz was not feeling well.  I called Shelly and we spoke for about a half hour. I sent him several photos of the Apollo Soyuz launch with all the guys from TIME Magazine.  I followed up with a couple more photos and wished him a Happy Birthday.  Unfortunately, last Friday Shelly went to the Darkroom in the Sky or actually maybe it’s a the Lightroom in the Sky!  Just for the record both JoAnne and I had the utmost respect for Shelly as a very fine photographer. Shelly, also had something else going for him,  everybody loved him.  In a profession that is ego driven Shelly had the goods and treated everybody equally.  At a time when male photographers did not give credence to female photographers he did.  Below is a beautiful letter from  long time good friend Sam Garcia.  Who every said Sam was a hard ass?  Was it me?  Maybe I was wrong.

“I hadn’t talked to Shelly in a couple of years.

It just goes like that sometimes, even when you like someone.

You can’t beat yourself up about it, but you’re going to a little bit anyway.
Couple of months ago a friend had a photo/home accident—they came back from a trip to find a pipe had burst directly over where they stored some of their work in their garage. Images and negatives literally sitting in water.
They called me; I told them what I thought was the best course of action to save/retrieve what was salvageable.
Then, because I don’t know know nearly enough about everything as I want to, I decided to double check what I’d told her by talking to another shooter with deep knowledge about a lot of stuff in the industry.
My first thought was Shelly.
And I was irritated to realize I didn’t have his number at hand it had been so long.
Called a mutual friend who gave it to me.
I called the number, said, basically,  “Hey, Shelly!, want to talk to you more, but will call you back because I’ve got a photo-emergency you might be able to help me with.”
Told him what I knew. What I’d suggested. He offered a couple of additional things.
I drove out and spent the afternoon trying to help my distraught friend save her memories.
(mixed results, but less overall disaster than she had feared.)
In one of the FEW responsible adult/mature moments of my Life, I called Shelly back in a couple of days to thank him for the help. Also, to actually talk about how he’d been, and swap those fill-in-the-blank stories you do with someone when you haven’t kept in touch as often as you’d have liked.
I got the sense he was under the weather health wise. But he was talking about his upcoming 75th birthday, and how well his son was doing, and we both bitched about the state of the industry we both liked probably more than it liked us.
Shelly’s background was certainly professional. Worked under the Time-Life umbrella for a few decades. Was represented in it’s glory days by the late great Black Star agency.
I had met him for the first time when I was traveling with the Nikon School.
We were both in the ‘Day In The Life’ book projects family as photographers.
That was back in…, September…?
I’m sitting at the table this morning, finishing up Xmas cards and thinking about lunch. I look over at one of the multitudinous piles of notes on various scraps of paper and see the one I’d scrawled Shelly’s name and number on.
I hadn’t wished him a happy 75th birthday.
I’d frankly, simply forgotten.
But I picked up the phone to see how he was doing pre-holiday.
But his son, Andrew answered the phone.
It’s not a genius thing to catch that tone in a voice which has only said ‘hello’
.
Shelly had died Friday.
I stumbled through my condolences as one does in that terrible moment, but you keep moving forward even when you’re uncomfortable because it’s not about you, and even if his son is a grown man, he just lost his dad.
I told him what I knew to be true–Shelly was one of the nicer guys I’d met in the industry over the years.
He was smart, and funny, and friendly, and really liked the business, even on those days when it beat him up a bit.
I kept it short, but as bad as I am at this stuff I stayed on, I hope, long enough to let him know other people liked and respected his dad, and the World was going to be a little less kind, a little less fun without Shelly in it.
His son asked me if I would mind letting people know.
So this is me doing that.
Right now he’s at Shelly’s home and answering that phone, but he also asked me to pass along his number if anyone wants to call.
Shelly’s number (in Texas)  972-247-0700
his son Andrew’s number, if you don’t get him at the above: 214-458-4858
I feel bad. I could’a, would’a, should’ a…fill in the blanks.
So I’ll try and do better. I think Shelly would accept that as the only apology worth giving.
Over the years I have come to believe the single worst lie you have heard via literature, and oft quoted, and oft repeated is the famous, ‘no man is an island‘.
It’s simply wrong.
Every single person is an island, and can slip away, slip beneath even calm waters in a moment, in a heartbeat.
 
But I do agree with John Donne a bit further into that piece, that, “Any man’s death diminishes me.”
I should have called him far more recently, and without the excuse to pick his brain, simply because I liked him. And I feel badly. And I’ll try and do better.
And the best thing I can offer Shelly’s spirit is with any luck you’re thinking of some ‘island’ you’ve been out of touch with, and maybe you’ll call them or write them.”  – Sam Garcia

*Article in the New York Times by John Camera Section on Shelly Katz by John Durniak (freelance writer, editor and photography consultant.)

www.nytimes.com/1991/07/21/news/camera.html

 

A signed copy of Joe’s Book FILL THE FRAME is $20 plus $4 shipping 

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

 

Minke Moves to Miami

© Joe DiMaggio

I jumped in the car to take my dear friend Danny Multer out for dinner. His cat is relocating to Miami and Danny felt it was the right thing to to do to follow Minke. Danny was kind enough to gift me several old photographic books and a few glass plates that are amazing to play with. The Mexican beer was good,  I won’t talk about the quality of food but the beer was good.

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

Doreen Jacob

To All The Ships At Sea –

Anybody who knows me knows I’ve used the expression “I am one of the luckiest people in the world.”  One reason for that is I’ve met so many great people over the years.  My friend Simon Jacob is one of the most important.  Simon has taken us into his family. Simon and all the Jacob family was extremely blessed to have Doreen Jacob as the Matriarch of their tribe.  She’s was beautiful on the outside as well as so beautiful on in the inside.  Doreen was a very warm, caring strong, and spiritual woman that lit up the room when she entered it.

We will always hold beautiful thoughts of her in our hearts.  When she opened up the doors to her home to us,  she helped us to understand more about the true meaning of family and friendship.  I know Doreen’s soul will live within all of us.  She has just moved to a higher place and one day we hope to meet her again.  We thank her for her lessons.  Both JoAnne and I were truly blessed to know her in this life.

© JoAnne Kalish

Hugh Brodie’s Birthday Party

To all the Ships at Sea,

© Joe DiMaggio

I’m the luckiest guy in the world.  I have great friends all over the world from all walks of life! One of my older friends is Hugh Brodie who is a great musician, singer, writer, and plays one helluva Sax.  The hell with rock and roll.  The women all love him!

Brodie was dealt a bad hand.  His last visit to the hospital the Dr. gave him less than 6 months.  That was 18 months ago. The last time we visited Brodie he didn’t look good. Much to my surprise, for his Birthday celebration he not only looked great but sounded great. It may not have been Carnegie Hall but it was fabulous to have been there.

Brother Brodie we will always love you!  Here’s a short clip from the day https://vimeo.com/204043097

 

 

 

© JoAnne Kalish

Hugh Brodie © Joe DiMaggio

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.

 

author-mark-joseph-sept_17_2016_043Beisbol

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.

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

Jazzman Hugh Brodie

_DSC0844 copy

© Joe DiMaggio

To all the ships at sea,

There are many people out there that have been to our photographic retreat and jazz workshops, and you all know the words and music of world class jazzman Hugh Brodie. Brodie’s cousin was Ella Fitzgerald – I guess the apple does not fall far from the tree. Now I’m going to tell you a secret, and you’ve gotta promise me you’re not going to tell a lot of people, but I’ve been to three of Brodie’s eightieth birthday parties. My guess is that Brodie is 90-something. God and nature haven’t been really good to Brodie. He recently had a couple of falls,  had some serious back problems, and had heart surgery. Thank God he didn’t get acne! With all that, he’s still one hell of a beautiful human being. To celebrate his recent birthday, some of the greatest jazzmen on the East coast came together to play for Brodie. What they actually did, in my humble opinion, was make him one of the happiest people on the planet. He laughed, he cried, he smiled.  He was truly ecstatic. For one moment, I was thoroughly convinced he was going to jump up onto the band stand and start belting out some really great music. It was close but it didn’t happen; there’s no doubt that he was singing and playing inside that beautiful heart and soul. Time for me to put down the No. 2 pencil and let the photos speak for themselves. Harvey, thanks  an awful lot

_DSC0906 copy

© Joe DiMaggio

_DSC0816 copy copy

© Joe DiMaggio

_DSC0931 copyB&W 22

© Joe DiMaggio

_DSC0852 copy

© Joe DiMaggio

_DSC0898 copy copy

© Joe DiMaggio