I jumped in the car to take my dear friend Danny Multer out for dinner. His cat is relocating to Miami and Danny felt it was the right thing to to do to follow Minke. Danny was kind enough to gift me several old photographic books and a few glass plates that are amazing to play with. The Mexican beer was good, I won’t talk about the quality of food but the beer was good.
Well the week started out with a dark cloud in the sky. Not good…WRONG! It turned out to be the best week I had in a long long time. My agent from California called and I have an assignment in Boston. JoAnne worked with our stock agency in Europe and we sold 3 photos. My new book FILL THE FRAME HIT #13 on Amazon, I got in 5 days in at the gym, lost 4 lbs, won $2 on Lotto, ran into an old friend of mine that sings opera and made one or two interesting snapshots. No Pulitzer, no Picture of the Year but what the hell, I’m having fun! Topped it off with a great group of people at the Hotel Fauchére. My one hour Q & A lasted almost two. It was a ton of fun, great questions, great people. Can’t wait to do it again. Life doesn’t get better than that – (okay next time I could win 2 million in the Lotto.) If that happens, I’d take that 2 million, give half away and gift myself the availability of working for the next ten years on my pet projects. Attached a few photos from my book.
Live Love, Laugh, & Be Happy
Hugh’s recent birthday celebration https://vimeo.com/204043097
About Hugh Brodie – Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, and Illinois Jacquet were just a few of the musicians that were in Hugh’s dreams as a boy. Little did he know that he would be playing with Jacquet in the 1980’s. Yet, even before he could afford his 3 dollar lessons, Hugh Brodie would fantasize about becoming one of the great jazz musicians.
Hugh’s first exposure to the blues came when he was very young in the fields of North Carolina. He worked on his cousin’s farm and listed to the workers as they sang the blues in the blazing sun tending to the watermelon and sugar cane.
Later, in his early teens, Hugh was amazed by the way the members of the Sanctified Church in Newark N.J. used music in their worship. Hugh was astonished when he witnessed fellow worshipers being overcome by “the great creator” from their toes to their head. These experiences planted the seeds for Brodie’s future music. They created the life experiences and burning hunger that Hugh needed to create music about the spiritual world. Hugh wanted to play music so badly that he begged his father to buy him a sax. Tenor Sax
Times Herald Record – Hugh was a storied jazz veteran. When asked to describe himself, he first says, “I am a creator,” then, “I am a searcher.” He played tenor and soprano saxophones, clarinet, flute, sang and scatted. He was cousin to the great Ella Fitzgerald. Hugh devoted his entire life to jazz, developing his own sound, creating his own music and executing his own unique musical visions. He was taught and encouraged by the greats before him and he, in turn, passed on his collected knowledge, to those who played on the bandstand with him or, who sought him out at his home in Monticello, NY. He has many recordings to his credit, played with the famous Illinois Jacquet big band, traveled the world, produced his own music and appeared in movies and modeled throughout his life.
My partner, Joanne Kalish, received an assignment to do a portrait of Will Barnet. The first two sittings were canceled by Will. When JoAnne questioned the artist, he confided in her that he was not comfortable. Most great photographers know everything about shutter speed, aperture, sharpness- all of the things that are not that important in a photograph. JoAnne has the ability to make a total stranger comfortable and gets the best of the best.
They say the third time’s the charm. Will asked that there be no lighting, per se, and no assistant, pomp or ceremony. JoAnne went to Barnet’s studio armed with just one camera and two lenses and came away with the definitive greatest photograph that had ever been taken of Will Barnet. How do I know that? Will Barnet told JoAnne six months after the photo was taken that this was his all time favorite photo and the best photo ever taken of him. He’s not only been photographed by thousands of photographers but also at least fifty of the best photographers in the world.
Today would have been his 105th birthday. No photographer likes to take a backseat to another photographer. I love the photo so much that I actually purchased one from JoAnne and it hangs above my desk. We also now have a framed 40×60 called “Will Barnet at 100” that came from the National Academy Museum and School. Over the years, I’ve collected eight or nine pieces of Will Barnet’s art.
JoAnne introduced me to Will and we had lunch and dinner together a few times. I have to say, he was one of the most amazing people that God put on this planet. At lunch one day we started to talk politics- not a good subject. I said, “What we need now is a new WPA (Works Project Administration)” and Will sipped his tea and said, “What a good idea, I headed the WPA as applicable to imagery.” I was sitting with a man who was at the forefront of the WPA.
To all the ships at sea, I’d like to end this blog. One of the biggest thrills of my life was when Will Barnet looked at my portfolio. He looked at me and said, “You are not a photographer, you are a painter.” That will be one of the things I will always remember when I check into the darkroom in the sky.
To all the ships at sea,
I would like to share a little story about my 35th birthday. Gerry Cooney showed up at my studio and delivered a beautiful birthday gift. The box was unbelievably light, but it was wrapped beautifully, it had a beautiful card. I opened it up, and it was a black negligee, size petit. I said, “Gerry, I’ll never fit in this.” He said, “you’ll figure out something to do with it.” So Gerry, happy 29th birthday… oops, I mean 39th birthday, oops. You’ll always be forever young. In writing my memoirs, I have four chapters on Gerry Cooney, my publisher is insisting I get them down to one reasonably large chapter, which I will do.
My best friend, my best man, my son’s Godfather. Hope you’re doing well, and I hope you’re in a great place.
When I think of the name Peter Poremba, I think light. For most of Peter’s adult life, he has been involved in perfecting electronic flash and photo-education. He is head and shoulders above all of his competitors. An extremely creative business person and always thinking out-of-the-box. His clientele always comes first. He’s also a very nice guy, has a beautiful wife and a gorgeous daughter. It doesn’t get better than that. While Peter and I were at a design meeting at Sartek with Carl Saieva, I was explaining mixed-light and how I utilize it in my photography. I did a quick and dirty portrait of Peter, which is the lead shot of this blog. It was shot with an 85mm lens, but in actuality it was done with a 11mm to 16mm zoom. I just wanted to have a little fun with the crop. Hopefully there’s a little bit to learn about perspective. I’m certainly not saying you should throw away your portrait lens! But in a pinch, one camera, one lens, two batteries, two cards, and a little imagination… Oh, did I forgot the light? The most important thing! On our trip back, we made it through Suffolk, Nassau County, and Queens in light-speed. Unbeknownst to us, we got three and a half miles from the GWB and there was an overturned vehicle and three trucks with three workmen drinking their coffee and smoking cigarettes while working on the side of the road. Peter would tell you it took 59 minutes, I would tell you it took an eternity. Then again, I’m a little older than Peter. Time is very valuable. Joe D signing off!