FILL THE FRAME The First Chapter – Peter Paul & Mary

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio


In 1969, a new singing group was performing at a Long Island ice skating rink, a trio, actually – Peter, Paul and Mary. I phoned the local newspaper and asked for a press credential.  I was turned down. I called another paper; same story.  Then I called a weekly, uh, newspaper, containing mostly supermarket coupons, and they said they’d love to give me a credential — if they had any.  Make one up, I was told, which I did, subsequently proceeding to bluff my way into the concert.  I had a Mamiya C220 camera by then, and an ancient, beat up Leica 3-C.  I loaded both with Tri-X black and white film, and as show time approached I managed to work my way onto one wing of the stage.  I had loved Peter, Paul and Mary from the start.  Mary Travers was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen.  That hair, those eyes . . . and her voice was from heaven. The moments approaching her opening note were counting down, and I was trembling.  Then, during the sound check, Mary and her partners walked by, and she said, “Who the fuck is doing the sound here?  It sounds like shit.”  I think I grew up at that moment.  I’d heard those words before, just not from a goddess.  Looking back, my photos of the concert were of average quality, except for one shot of Mary, alone on a stool.  I sent her a copy.  Several years later, during one of her TV interviews, there it was, on the sofa behind her head.  More than 40 years have passed since then, and I’ve never stopped looking for the negatives.


To All the Ships at Sea,

All Photos © Joe DiMaggio

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….

Today Was A Catch-28!

To All the Ships At Sea –

Pretty sure most of you read Joseph Heller’s book CATCH-22.  Well today I had a Catch-28!  Called Amazon and explained my name was spelled wrong in my Amazon book listing and the publisher’s name was wrong.  They said no problem…please hold.  I was on hold for four minutes and decided I should water my basil…which I did…still on hold. With that Peter Poremba, the CEO of Dynalite called and I abruptly told him, I’d call him back.  Seven minutes into my hold,  Al Stegmeyer from Upstrap called. I also blew him off.  Their music was starting to drive me crazy so I decided to go brush my teeth.  Still waiting… I gargled.  We are now 12 minutes into the hold and I figured well… I’m in the bathroom…. Now 15 minutes into it, I decided to take a quick shower. I quickly, jumped out of the tub and wrapped a towel around me and my friend Sam Garcia called.  Also blew him off and said I’d get back.  Went outside, still waiting, I watered my tomatoes, and went back into the studio. With that JoAnne asked me where I had been?  I simply said I’ve been on hold.  Twenty four minutes later, the lovely lady told me there was nothing they could do about it and to call the Publisher and tell them to make the changes.  She said it would probably take till July to implement them.  The first line in my new book FILL THE FRAME  is six months ago, I was 20 years old.  That’s how fast life is…light speed plus.  Time is like gold – more valuable than material things.

If you want to read a great book (FILL THE FRAME) – see reviews.    Attached link to short video – http://FILL THE FRAME

Live, Love, Laugh & be Happy – hold on a minute I will get back to you.  film is 28 seconds… time is very valuable…

A Cole Miner’s Daughter… No, that’s not right



While working on an add campaign for a Fortune 500 company, I did an environmental portrait of an American Indian, and they loved it, rapidly followed by an American Cowboy.  We then broke things up by doing a photograph of the Empire State Building on a very cold, rainy, foggy night, which yielded a fine image.  The creative director at Saatchi came back and wanted to change it up, and he wanted me to do a photo of an American laborer.  After two weeks I submitted three photos, he didn’t like any of them.  The following week, I submitted three more, he liked those even less.  I became extremely frustrated.  Any assignment photographer will tell you they would rather have a AD and CD with a firm story board (with approval of the end client) with very little leeway on the initial concept, but a lot of leeway on how you stylize a photograph.  It’s called a compromise.  We got in a, shall we say, small argument.  I was very frustrated, and decided was that what I needed to go was some serious manual labor, which in my opinion, is extremely healthy.  It will also stop you from getting arrested for attempted assault and battery.  Being dedicated to your art form is one thing, but doing hard time?  Unacceptable.  Stepped into the studio, looked at a full length mirror, readjusted my Dynalites, asked my best  female friend, JoAnne Kalish, if she would be kind enough to make a photograph…  client loved it.  Is there a moral to this story?  When — is not working — change it up.  If you want to see the complete story without any restrictions or censorship, in six months you can pick up my new book on visual literacy.

To all the ships at sea, grab a camera and a shovel, go have a ball.  It’s all good.


Don’t Wait 38 Years to Look at Your Take

What’s interesting about photography is that you spend the first five years learning all of the basic fundamental rules.  Things like; F-stops, apertures, depth of field, depth of focus, the geometric progression of 1.4, and you make five or ten mistakes a day everyday, for the next ten years.  Then when you hit year twenty, you think, who the hell are you, and in reality, well… it’s not for me to say who you are, what you are, or where you’re going.  You try desperately to perfect your visual literacy, and communicate your vision with the rest of the world.  You’ll probably have to die before it’s ever recognized on certain levels, and then believe it or not, it may be too late.  Unless of coarse you believe that you’re moving to another level of consciousness, which I choose to believe.  Not afraid of dying, just hope there’s some developer left in the tank when I get there… or maybe 100 terabytes of space in the hard drive.  In 1977, Sports Illustrated gave me an assignment to cover the World Series.  I shot approximately 30 roles of film.  They were sent into the lab, processed, they ran what they ran, and then the film came back with my X-Number on it.  They sat in the file waiting for me to return from Greece where I was for a month shooting an advertising assignment, and then two weeks off in Santorini.  By the time I got back, there were several more Sports Illustrated assignments that year.  The long in the short of it is, I never saw the film until 10 weeks ago, so what you’re about to see is 38 years old.  It’s been 38 years that I had an opportunity to look at my take.  As my good friend Willy Nelson and Ralph Brandofino would say, “You better take some time to smell the roses.”  Three first pitch home runs by New York Yankee, Reggie Jackson.

To all the ships at see, smell the roses.




Yukiko and Tom


© Tom  Sobolik & YukikoLaunois

To all the ships at sea,

Both JoAnne and I absolutely love going to any art gallery, museum, or photo show.  If you allow your mind to open up to new ideas, it can be a tremendous inspiration to your own work.  We were invited to the opening of Yukiko’s work in Westchester county at the Martin Stankiewicz gallery.  I have to tell you it was a fabulous show.  Both photographers, diametrically opposite in style, but tremendous talents.  To say nothing of the Prosecco, that was very dry, and that’s me trying to be funny.  Over my X number of decades in photography, Yukiko was probably my favorite editor, and definitely the toughest.  When Yukiko gave me an idea, or a critique, I listened, and I executed on her recommendation, and then of coarse, I did it my way, the combination was extremely successful for both of us.  Life is good.  I purchased one of her pieces that was typical Asian composition (I studied art in Japan, less is more).  Yukiko’s work is so strong and minimalistic.  If you have the opportunity, see her show, it’s worth the ride.  If not, she’s having a gallery show in Manhattan, more to follow.  I would be remise if I didn’t say that Tom is a fabulous photographer. He’s been across the block quite a bit and he’s taken his Black Star routes and added a fine art twist.  Excellent photographer.  It’s all good.


Artists’s Statement: Tom Sobolik

This exhibit is the result of artistic larceny.  The exhibit also grew out of the 34-year photography friendship between Yukiko Launois and me.  We met in1980 when Yukiko was head of the photo library at the Black Star photo agency and I, a fledgling photojournalist, went to work for her.  After a career as a photo editor for Black Star and Corbis, Yukiko became  a photographer herself in retirement.  My career was a photojournalist and a corporate photographer through Black Star.  About 10 years ago I began switching my emphasis to landscape photography.

I was inspired to winter scenes by Yukiko occasionally sent of snow in Central Park.  Photographing purely for her own enjoyment, she would “publish” them by home-making greeting cards and sending them to friends.  I loved the photos and was drawn to the harmony, simplicity and grace in them juxtaposed to the stark contrasts and harshness of winter.

Without knowing the Picasso quote, “Bad artists copy.  Good artists steal”, I began unconsciously pilfering the sensibilities I drew from my friends photos.  After seeing the early results I became much more aware of Yukiko’s influence on my winter work and I began unabashedly helping myself to all I could of her vision.  This show is some of the evidence of that thievery.  It is a collaboration because Yukiko is complicit in my embezzlement.


Artist’s statement: Yukiko Launois

I am first and foremost a photography editor.  That was my career and I never took a photograph myself until after my retirement 10 years ago.  Then I began editing the real world and putting my choice on film.  I am an observer of nature and I try to choose the purest beauty in it.

My idea of beauty is influenced by my upbringing in Japan.  As a girl I learned classical Japanese arts including calligraphy and flower arranging.  I rebelled against the classics and fell in love and married a French/American photojournalist, moving to New York.  But Japanese aesthetics remained in my DNA.

Taking photographs is my pleasure.  I do it for my own enjoyment and could never have seen myself as one of the many world-renowned photojournalists whose work I edited for Black Star and Corbis.  Pressure and deadlines are not for me.

Even so, when I am happy with a photograph I like to share it.  So I make note cards with my favorite images and send them to friends.

I was flattered when Tom asked me to do a joint show.  I was blown away when I saw some of his snow pictures.  His less-is-more kind of approach looked very Japanese to me.  I didn’t know I inspired him to do the work but my old editing instincts told me our photos would look good together.

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Yukiko Launois and JoAnne Kalish ©JoeDiMaggio

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Yukiko Launois ©JoeDiMaggio



Tom Sobolik ©JoeDiMaggio

Yukiko Launois ©JoeDiMaggio





Bill Eppridge in a Class By Himself


In my career I have been blessed with a few fortunate lucky right place, right time relationships. The first and foremost was attending the University of Missouri school of Journalism Workshop.  It really doesn’t get better than that. The second would be assisting W. Eugene Smith who taught me more about communications then anyone. Actually, he taught me more about many things but for the purpose of this we won’t go there. When asked to deliver a keynote speech at the NPPA, one of the people I thanked was Bill Eppridge. I would love to tell you that I know Bill well but as the truth be known, that’s just is not so. But here’s what I do know. Bill Eppridge has very few peers. He stands alone with his great talent.  He also has another quality that generally photographers don’t have. He’s an extremely humble about what he’s accomplished over the last few decades and he’s still a viable force to be dealt with. Bill invited me to his retrospective at the Fairfield Museum. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend. This past Sunday I had a little time off and decided to go to Fairfield, Connecticut to see the show.  I thought I knew exactly what I was going to see. Boy, was I wrong. I had no idea the depth and scope of his work. Like many other photographers, we know about the positive RFK Photos, but the retrospective truly showed what an amazingly great talent he is. This is one of the few times I wish I was a great writer because there aren’t enough adjectives to express what an important body of work he has. Photographer Alfred Eisenstadt, once told me, he had maybe only a dozen fine photographs.  When I had the audacity to tell him, “no you have thousands of great photographs,” he smiled, clicked his heels and said, “one day you will understand.”

Thanks Bill for continuing to teach me the importance and power of a great still image.