Thursday, April 29, 2010

Boom Boom Mancini- One More Time From the Top

I guess it was Yogi Berra who first said, "deja vu all over again." My last shoot before I went in for my double hip replacement was with my dear friend, Angelo Dundee. As we were doing our huggy kissy goodbye he mentioned another old friend, Ray Mancini. I asked how Boom Boom was doing. He told me he was out in California and he was doing great. I had a nice talk with him on the phone today. He not only looks great, he sounds great, it's all good. We talked about possibly putting a project together. Nothing would please me more than to work on a creative project with someone like Boom Boom whose been in the trenches and knows what its all about. I genuinely believe in timing and karma and this may be a great time and great karma to team up with an old friend, whose still pretty young. Joe D

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Gleason's Workshop

©Dylan DiMaggio

I remember the first time I walked into Gleason's gym in 1972. The sights, the sounds, the smell- it was pretty amazing. When I was working with Sports Illustrated and Gerry Cooney, I spent an awful lot of time there in the late 70s and I decided I was going to do a documentary on boxing. Thus was born, a five year project, "In This Corner". I brought my class to Gleason's and it was pretty amazing. They got with the program really quickly. Several gigs of photos were done and from what I can see, some of them are very good. This may be the last Joe DiMaggio/ Gleason's workshop in the front street location. Gleason's, born in 1937, will be relocating several blocks away. When? We don't know. I'd like to share a photo taken by Adrian. Special thanks to my friend Bruce Silverglade, who was kind enough to allow our class in.

A view of Gleason's from Adrian's perspective

Student's comment:


Thank you again for making such a dreary day into a fantastic photographic opportunity. I saw in you a passion for photography that I have rarely see in professional photographers and Sunday no matter what kind of pain you were in you fought on and made it a memorable experience.

The whole entire workshop was fantastic, each of the photographers were at different levels of photography, but I didn't come away feeling one was greater than the other. The common bond for us is the love of photography and how to improve our skills. I only wish that we could have spent more time picking your brains, one day is definitely not enough. I was glad to be a part of this great day. JoAnne and Dylan were awesome, you have a great team.

I hope in the future to participate in another one of your workshops.

All my best


© Adrian Rodriguez

Monday, April 26, 2010

There are no miserable days, there are only great photographic opportunities

©Dylan DiMaggio

Well here we are, the day after a very cold, windy, torrential rainy, Joe DiMaggio workshop with and international cast of players. With all of the adversity and all the logistical problems, I think my students kicked ass and took names. As we were starting to peel off in the early evening, someone thanked me for conducting a great workshop but I said without their participation, there is no workshop. My job is to motivate and inspire but the student is the person who does execution of the visual literacy which will result in a strong photograph. It was a small intimate group of 15. Thanks to the FDNY Firehouse Engine 205 & Ladder 118, one of the oldest fire departments in Brooklyn allowed us to not only do a photographic tour and environmental portraits but they were kind enough to have a real fire call so we all got a very up close and personal look at what these great people do to protect our lives, family and property. As some of my close friends know, I lost two firemen friends in 9/11, Terrence Farrell and Doug Miller. Many thanks to my partner JoAnne Kalish, Dylan DiMaggio, Larry Malang and of course Monica Cipnic.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Authur Mercante, Sr. (January 27, 1920 – April 10, 2010)

I think the first time I heard the words Arthur Mercante, my dad was telling me a story about Arthur's volunteering and helping out with the PAL back in the day. The first time I remember seeing him was at the Floyd Patterson and Ingemar Johansson fight. There is no way in the world I would call Arthur a dear friend of mine but what I can say is that he was an extremely special person. He was a true gentleman- never heard a bad word out of his mouth and never heard a bad word about him. He's one of the few referees that his honesty and sincerity were never in question. He had a love affair with boxing and he always made sure he took care of the boxer to minimize any possible damage. Even though we didn't talk very often, there would always be a little smile of acknowledgment. I guess I should say that the boxing world has lost a great statesman, but what I would rather say that the world has lost one beautiful gentleman.

Baker 17 (New York Presbyterian Hospital Cornell University)

What may be considered standard operating procedure for some people, other people may interpret it as great service, great care, and great concern. Here we are, it's 2010, the world is moving at light speed and real down to earth people genuinely care about the health and well-being of a fellow human being.
This blog thing is pretty new to me and I guess if you go back and check several of them you'll find words like, "I'm the luckiest guy in the world." It's not that I can't think of other words to say but I am the luckiest guy in the world. The doctors, assistants, people who did physical therapy, everyone was beyond great. They care. I wasn't a number, I wasn't a paying customer, they genuinely cared about my health. They all worked around the clock to help me- pretty amazing. In the same vein, they worked me extremely hard- no pain no gain. And for that, I'll always be in their debt.
They said that I was 2 weeks ahead of schedule as far as rehab is concerned. I'd like to think I'm motivated but without a good kick in the ass and a smile from these people, I don't think I would have succeeded as well as I have.
Hugs and kisses to everyone on Baker 17. They're in my prayers. If you ever have to go for rehab, that's the place to go.
I guess by now you know that I have two brand new hip replacements. Last but not least, I became a member of the "Troublemakers" on Baker 17 and we had a great field trip to the Met. Photos to follow.

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Surgeon, Dr. Boettner

Approximately 100 days ago I had the opportunity to meet with a great Doctor by the name of Dr. Sama who is affiliated with the Hospital for Special Surgery. He put me through a series of tests and recommended that I meet with fellow colleague, Dr.Boettner. He explained that Dr. Boettner was a world class hip surgeon and that he could help me.

A month later, Dr. Boettner put me through another rigorous amount of tests. At the end of the week, we met and he asked me a couple questions. He asked me if I wanted to sit on a couch and watch television or lay in a hammock for the rest of my life; I said no to both. He said, "OK, then would you like to climb a mountain?" and I said no. He was surprised and I told him that I wanted to climb ten mountains. He said, "I really like you, you've convinced me we're going to do a bilateral hip surgery at the same time. You're tough enough, so we're going to do it".

That was a month ago, and this past Thursday, was when I had the surgery done. For the first time in a long long time, I had no pain in my knees, pelvis, or ankles. I have pain but only from the incision and from lying flat on my back. We're now starting intense therapy and every day it's getting better.

Dr. Boettner came in this morning, with a smile on his face and said that I was making a miraculous recovery. I told him that I should have come to see him three years ago but didn't, because I was told that the pain I was having, was probably from the latter stages of Lyme's disease and I had also attributed it to ongoing problems I had with my back for many years.

By the way, I found the Hospital for Special Surgery to be a truly a world class facility and I'm thankful that I was able to come here. I'd like to thank every member of the staff that bent over backwards to make my stay comfortable and thank you Dr. Boettner. I've included a bit of information below about Dr. Boettner.

"Dr. Friedrich Boettner was born in Germany, he studied at the top international centers for his specialty, completing fellowships in four sub-areas, as well as additional training in pelvic osteotomies and open hip dislocation with surgeons in Germany, Switzerland and the United States. He has authored an orthopedic textbook, as well as numerous scientific publications. He is awarded for Travelling Fellowship, American Orthopaedic Association OrthoBiotech OREF Award for Excellence in Blood Management."

Monday, April 5, 2010

Just A Thought

When you come to the edge of all the light
you know and are about to step off into
the darkness of the unknown, faith is
knowing one of two things will happen;
there will be something solid to stand on...
...or you will learn to fly.

Another Great Group

©JoAnne Kalish

Under normal circumstances, I never worry about a lecture or giving a workshop. I think it comes pretty natural to me. The level of pain was off the chart but I had agreed to do this workshop a year ago and I come from a school of “if you give your word, you better deliver the goods”. Dylan, who is usually much tougher than I am and tends to be not only hard on me but hard on himself and doesn't give a whole lot of compliments, said it was a great workshop. And you know what? He was right. Not because of what I did, but because of the participants. You guys. You made it great. Great questions. I learned a lot from you and you know what, you made the pain bearable. I was interviewed today for a magazine article and I started by saying that I am the luckiest guy in the world. It’s not only my friends and family and my photography but it’s because of people like you who make it worthwhile, and I’d like to thank you. And while I’m at it I’d like to thank JoAnne Kalish for coming out of a warm bed at 3:45A.M. and Dylan and of course Monica; she’s the power behind the throne, she works extremely hard and never fails to get the job done. Keep Shooting.

©JoAnne Kalish

Kayaking With Murphy

©Joe DiMaggio

You would think after several decades of making photographs there would be no surprises, but the greatest thing about photography is that there’s always a surprise. You can pre plan everything to the final millimeter, you can pick the perfect day for light, you can have the best athletes or models, but invariably something will come up and will bite you on the –whatever. This is a perfect example, of Murphy rearing his ugly head. We planned this shoot several months ago waiting for the right rain conditions so we could make great photographs on the upper portions of the Raymondskill Creek. Cue the cameras! Cue the kayakers, let’s go! But Murphy cued three logs that broke loose and were blocking the creek. Ya can’t kayak over a log, and you can’t kayak through a log, so we went to plan B. Plan B was a 44 foot drop. To put that into perspective, that s a 4 story building straight down. The problem with the shot is the extreme heavy mist. It was like putting a Tupperware cap over your lens. The front element of the lens was absolutely soaking wet all the time and as we all know, anything put in front of a lens will degrade the image. I was shooting with the Sigma 150-500 and I didn’t have the underwater version- OK that’s me trying to be funny again. One of the keys in photography is your ability to be flexible, when you don’t get what you want- you gotta get something. We hiked up one more mile to a tributary and were able to get a 30 foot drop shot with the 24-70 Sigma. ISO and exposure are approximately the same; the difference would be considerably less mist. Keep on shooting, it’s all good. Next time I see you- I’ll have a brand new set of wheels- half titanium and half ceramic. Next workshop is Brooklyn Bridge in Gleason’s on April 25, 2010.

Joe D

©Joe DiMaggio