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

Tomcat

Hi to All the Ships at Sea,

Talk to any fighter pilot from any era and they’ll tell you the only two planes that matter are P51 Mustang (propeller plane) and the F14 tomcat jet plane. TIME Magazine sent me on an assignment to photograph the last F14 to come off the assembly in Grumman. Suffice it to say it was very prestigious. Like all my assignments I always try to go a little bit further. So I got permission from the commanding officer to mount two cameras in the back with the weapons control officer.  I used a NikonF with motor drive and 15mm lens, Kodachrome 64. at 1/250 at f/8. In a couple weeks you’ll see another P51 blog and see how many G’s I can go through.

All the best,

Joe D

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Joe,

Closest Finish © Joe DiMaggio

Well, next year it’ll have been 30 years since I loaded film into your Nikons at the 1982 Indy 500.  It was a complete thrill to finally be able to work the other side of the fence after growing up at the track each May tagging along with my Dad.  Of course things have changed a bit since then.  In addition to the digital revolution, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has undergone a major facelift and is a World-class facility.  I started shooting the 500 for Reuters in 1990 and have been back ever since.  Last year, I had the honor of having my college-aged daughter, Ainslie, join the family “business” and become the 4th generation of Millers to pick up a camera at the 500.  Back at the 1982 you captured the memorable image of the Johncock/Mears finish, and who knew that 24 years later in 2006 I’d repeat the feat by capturing the Hornish/Andretti finish that would appear double-trucked in SI as well as the NY Times.

Peace,

Geoff Miller

_________________________________________

Geoff,

     I am so proud of you not only as a photographer but as one hell of a fine human being. There are very few young people that would give up their bed back in the day so we could get to the Indy 500 at 5 A.M. to beat the traffic. And like many of my assistants, you did so much more than just load film into my Nikons. Without your help, that photograph would not have been done. It’s something that I’ve been aware of my whole life. We tend to think we work in isolation. We tend to think how important we are. But the same way that Rick Mears would say “It’s a team effort”, I say the same thing. We worked as a team. Your work is amazing. You deserve everything that you get and some more. And who knows- maybe in the next couple of years, we’ll have an opportunity to work together again. Keep on shooting and remember the first rule of photographing racecars: Never turn your back on one.

Thanks,

     Joe D.

Photos below ©Geoff Miller