Many of you know that I set out to do a 10 minute video on boxing at Gleason’s Gym about 10-12 years ago. The concept was JoAnne ringside talking about her experiences photographing boxing as a woman, in a man’s sport with a woman’s viewpoint, in at the time a male photographic oriented business.
Well that day turned into the beginning of a long film called In This Corner and it’s been an on-going project ever since. It’s out of pure passion and love for the sport (you also have to know, that I have a love hate relationship with boxing as there are many bad sides of boxing.) Every once in a while you’ll come across a few boxers who make it but the majority of these boxers never actually get from point A to point B. I had an opportunity to photograph the Terrance Crawford vs. Felix Diaz fight two weeks ago. I made a decision to give up my credentials for the the fight after driving thirteen hours to North Carolina to photograph one of the brightest young boxers by the name of Khalid, one of the protagonists in my film. We worked a 14 hour day and the last fight was supposed to go off at 10 PM but actually started at 12:30AM. We started at 10 in the morning, so by that time, we were seriously dragging ass and one of the corner workers – in Mr. so-and-so’s corner took objections to our photography position after shooting what 17 fights? I made a decision that if you have nothing else to do but give us a hard time after just trying to do our job, we’re leaving so we left. You know what happened? They got no national exposure because when the digital images were turned into Zuma Press there were no photos of their number one fighter so no publicity. Oh well… I guess that’s the way it goes….
Good friends try to keep their requests for assistance down to a minimum. Every time I’ve asked Bert Sugar for a favor, he’s always come across. There is an old italian word for bert. He’s a real “Mench” You can tell how good my Italian is. Bert joined me and Dylan yesterday as Gleasons Gym to interview Oscar De La Hoya. Bert being the profesional that he is, made a few executive decisions. We managed to get through the day unscathed and with all of the information we needed for our film “In This Corner”. Oh my God, that’s the name of the blog! What a coincidence! As day was winding into early evening, Bert wanted to go for a cocktail. Anyone who knows Bert, has to get used to three things; his fedora, his cigar, and his double Chivas Regal neat. I’m pretty sure that’s scotch whiskey! So we left Gleason’s and strolled over to a lovely little wine bar, 7 Old Fulton. It was way to early for dinner, and way to late for lunch. It was perfect timing for us to kick back and exchange war stories. Bert just returned from Miami, where he helped our mutual friend Angelo Dundee re-open the 5th Street Gym, after having been closed for 17 years. Boxing is coming back to Miami in a big way.The principles at the restaurant were of Italian heritage from Triest. The decor was beautiful, the food spectacular, and a genuine warm place to go with some friends for a cocktail and dinner. I affectionally call Bert the “Bertster”, and he calls me Uncle Joe (don’t ask.) It was a great day, a hell of a lotta fun. That’s it, Signing off. – Joe D.
I guess there’s an old adage that the teacher becomes the student. Our son Dylan had a great opportunity 4 years ago. He worked as an intern for Al Maysels. Al is recognized as the father of modern documentary cinematography. His awards are absolutely amazing. When Grey Gardens closed on Broadway, the feature film was a Blockbuster. His original film on Grey Gardens and Salesmen are classic studies made in the way documentaries should be made. I had the pleasure to meet Al a few years ago at a cocktail party and reception.
Being in Al’s presence is being in the presence of greatness. He’s soft spoken, has a very small ego, and is a great talent. He was kind enough to invite me to his home along with my partner JoAnne Kalish and son Dylan to do a one-hour interview on his life and career.
I have very few heroes. One was Gene Smith, who I had the pleasure of assisting back in the day. Al is also a hero of mine. He has been kind enough to help me with my film In This Corner. Just came across a few photos of Al and thought all the Ships at Sea would like to take a look at a photograph of a great filmmaker.