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.
We had an extremely successful holiday workshop in NYC. Everyone had a great time, it doesn’t get better than that. As we were strolling to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral we ran into a few demonstrators in front of Trump Tower. Under normal circumstances I would be very wordy right about now, but unfortunately I just had an old visit from our old friend Murphy. yeah, Murphy stopped by and fried my iMac so I’m working on JoAnne’s laptop which is a little uncomfortable so I am going to wish you a very merry Christmas, happy New Year, happy Kwanzaa, happy Chanukah. Happy, happy, happy! Live, love, laugh and be happy. Oops! And don’t forget, smile. It’s like the flu- it’s contagious! Did I say that?
The first time I walked into Gleason’s was in 1975. That was the old Gleason’s in Manhattan. The new-old Gleason’s has been around for about three decades. It has the same ambiance as the old Gleason’s. Not only does it have the same red walls but also the same smell that permeates Gleason’s. I’ve taken several hundred people there and they absolutely love it – as they should. It’s not only a piece of history but it’s also living history and, as we all know, a little bit of sweat equity never hurt anybody. Bruce Silverglade is the the current owner and his father before him was the previous owner. The original Bobby Gleason’s wasn’t Bobby Gleason’s at all- it was Bob Gagliardi. The reason Bob changed his name to Bobby Gleason is that the fight game back in those days was predominantly Irish. Wow, I wonder what Donald Trump would say about that? The Irish were rapidly followed by the Italians, then African Americans, the Hispanics, oh my god- everybody! That’s why they call it a melting pot! Gleason’s remains the oldest boxing gym in the United States. Every time I leave Gleason’s, I feel younger, stronger, and that my focus is better. I absolutely love it. It’s like going home. The purpose of my visit was to interview Khalid Twaiti. We have been following Khalid for the last 12 years. Khalid is a brilliant young man who will be graduating LIU with a major in business and he’ll be having his first professional fight on December 10th. Khalid expects to have three championship belts in three different weight classes within the next four years; I genuinely believe he will attain his goal.
I also had a great surprise at Gleason’s. I met Bruce Silverglade’s son, David, and David is cut from the same cloth as his dad. Extremely bright, well read, well spoken, and a tough S.O.B. – and that’s a good thing! We had a great one-hour conversation. David opened my eyes to a few things- let’s call it a little bit more education. You know what? It’s all good.Last but not least, it was great to see some old friends (even though they like to beat up on me!)
To all the ships at sea, Gleason’s will be closing their doors in early December… not exactly! They’re moving to a new location just a few blocks away from the current location. I’m looking forward to photographing it before doors open. I understand Bruce got a great discount on some red paint; I can’t wait. A new era will be born at the new Gleason’s and it will be as great as those before it.
Growing up in New York City, when I heard the word orchid, I knew exactly what it meant. Orchard Street, a Street in New York that my grandpa would take me shopping on Sundays. I don’t know, while in college, that I learned much about orchids. I sure had my street smarts. Let’s fast forward a few years. I had the privilege and pleasure of meeting the most beautiful man that God put on this planet, Werner Kabitzke. Werner was born in Germany, but as a young man, moved to Maine. He fell in love with Maine and all of the flora and fauna that came with it. He became an expert horticulturist, and his expertise on all things flowers was truly amazing, but his favorite were orchids, and my God, did he grow some magnificent orchids in his green house. With his green thumb and vision, he was able to breed varieties of different orchids together to create works of art. A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of spending his 88th birthday with him. Last Sunday, he prepared himself for the trip from this planet, to the orchid gardens of Heaven. When you read this, go home and hug your bride, your girlfriend, your boyfriend, life is beautiful and fast. Have an absolutely fabulous Day.
Anyone who’s travelled to Italy, France, Germany, etc., you have to love the rail system. It’s amazing, it’s great, it’s cost effective, it’s safe. The NYC Subway System may not have the luxury, but if you have to get from point A to point B, it’s a great choice. Unless of course, you have a Mercedes Limo, a driver, and security… but even with that, sometimes with the traffic, you’re better off with the subway. I love photographing in the subway, it’s a little known fact that you’re allowed to photograph/film in the subway as long as you don’t have a tripod (double check the law.) A dear friend of mine, Bill DeSmedt, author of “Singularity” and “Dualism,” attached is a portrait I did of him, notice the sign behind his head. That puts it into perspective. While you’re at it, check out his books, they’re quite good. The other graphic is just me having fun. Sometimes we forget, photography is about the fun.
Thank God! No photos of me… that’s good. Ira, I had a great time too.
Thanks, Joe D.
I want to thank you for hosting a great day in Chinatown. Scoring a press pass and shooting inside the barricades was an incredible experience, and I had a blast.
You said at the start of the day to try to take 3 photos that we would not typically shoot. Here are 3 that I shot today that I have never come close to achieving before now. Thanks for the inspiration and the access.
A quarter of a century ago, you couldn’t walk the streets of Dumbo unless you had an armed guard. It has now become one of the most chicy-chic places in the metropolitan area. Multi-million dollar construction— oops, I used the wrong word. I used the m word when I should have used the b word. What a great place to make photographs. Join JoAnne and myself on the late afternoon/early evening of Thursday June 13th from 4-9. Check it out on the Adorama Workshop site. It’s all good, it’s all great, it’s all magic. One opening left for the rodeo workshop.
I have a very dear friend that I have the utmost respect for. She constantly reminds me not to use certain terms. Well, I know she’s right and for the most part, I always listen to her. I’ve decided to take two words out of my vocabulary. One word is “no”…not in my vocab. Second word is “but”…not in my vocabulary (do I occasionally slip? Absolutely). Anybody following my blog knows that my dear friend Bert Sugar has moved on to the Irish Bar in the sky, where the double cutty sarks are wrapped around the perfume of cigar smoke (there was a day when you could smoke in bars). While researching for my book, Shooting From the Inside Out, I came across this note the Sugar man sent to me. I’d like you to look at it, read it, close your eyes and just think good thoughts. On that note, I wish you health and happiness.
I never put a name on a photograph nor do I put titles, and for the most part, I don’t dedicate photographs to anyone. Last night JoAnne and I had the opportunity to go visit an old friend, Ann Raine. Ann is one of the most beautiful, lovely, wonderful people I have ever met. In a world before multi-tasking, she was an international horse woman, potter, smart banker, business woman and more recently a great photographer. We went to say hello and we did. She is as beautiful today as when I met her 10 years ago. So I dedicate this photo to Ann, she inspired me to take it. It’s not my usual style. Thanks for the inspiration.