Great Yellow Father

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

To all the ships at sea,

The majority of photographers I’ve come to know over the years were weaned on TriX, Plus X, Panatomic X, Kodacrome 1,2, 25, 64, and High Speed Ektachrome. I affectionally called Kodak “The Great Yellow Father.” Well, the last time I did a lecture at RIT about eight years ago I stopped by to see a Vice President of Kodak who is a friend of mine. While walking to his office I could hear the echo of my footsteps. The handwriting had been on the wall for at least 5-8 years prior to that, lets call it 1999. And one of the final indications was when Dano Steinhardt left Kodak for Epson. I know Dano loved Kodak. He had to do what was right for him and for his family. Covering the heavyweight championship fight in Rochester, killing six hours, I looked up to see the Kodak tower. It was sad. One of the security people told me they were going to convert it to a community college. There is no doubt that George Eastman is doing cartwheels in his grave. One of the oldest most powerful and greatest longest lasting corporations in america. Very sad, very sad. I’m looking above me three computers, theres a roll of Kodacrome 200, 25 and Ektachrome X. I don’t why I have it, but it’s there.

IMG_0854

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

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

fight

© Dylan DiMaggio

Smokin’ Joe

 

© Joe DiMaggio

I remember the first day that I photographed Smokin’ Joe Frazier; March 8 1971. Frazier was the heavyweight champion of the world, fighting the great Muhammad Ali (off a three year hiatus from boxing). To say the least, it was considered  the fight of the century, with Frank Sinatra shooting ringside for Life Magazine. I’ve been known to say “The next time I’m in Vegas, I’m gonna jump onstage and grab  a microphone—not”. over the years, Frazier and I became casual acquaintances. Joe was a true gentleman. There are very few people that ever had a bad word to say about Joe. I asked him if he would be kind enough to allow me to interview him for my documentary In This Corner, and he agreed. We met at the iconic Gleason’s Gym. Honesty is the best policy, and as far as the interview went it was two warriors talking about the good old days, and from that we talked about the future of boxing in the new decade. The interview became very personal, and that is not the proper way a documentary interview should go. I looked at it yesterday and a tear came to my eye. When I get my head put on straight, I’ll do a second and a third blog with some action photography. Yes, I know this should have been done November of last year, but it took me that long to actually find the images I was looking for. So much for my filing system. To all the ships at sea, some photography, for that matter all photography, is timeless. On that note, go out and make some great photos. Joe D.

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio