On this particular occasion I tagged along with my partner Joe DiMaggio to give him a hand filming his documentary film “In This Corner.” I think at the time he was working with a brand new camera and was not totally comfortable with it yet. I also wanted to meet and photograph the legendary Boxer Jake LaMotta as “Raging Bull” happens to be one of my favorite films.
He was definitely the strong character I expected. He brought along a good looking woman he introduced as his fiance. She and I were pretty close in age. I liked her. He came very early which was very unexpected and we were not even close to being set up yet. We spent the entire afternoon filming in P.J Clarke’s a famous Saloon close to his apartment. We had very little light in the bar, despite the fact we sat him at a window table and it was difficult working with such little light. Jake was brutally honest in the interview, including saying some things we were very surprised at while the camera rolled. These are some of the photos I made that day.
I spent this past weekend at the Second Annual Milford Readers and Writers Festival. For such a small town Milford, PA has become quite an up and coming place to visit and to live in. There are so many things happening here. This being just one of them. It was a top notch affair. At last year’s event we had well known authors Gloria Steinem, MK Asante, and John Berendt to name just a few. We had many other important writers as well. A quote from Gloria Steinem, “This festival shows us the worldwide importance of coming together to share ideas and build community.”
This year started out with a bang with the play “Love Letters” on Friday night with Len Cariou and Heather Summerhayes Cariou, which I missed and heard was fabulous! Our featured writers this year were Lee Child, Patricia Bosworth, Robin Morgan, Martha Frankel, Farai Chideya and Stephen Rubin as well as others. I am including a link to the website http://www.milfordreadersandwriters.com/
Last Friday I received an e mail from the Chief of the Department of Image Collections Mr. Gregory Most, at the National Gallery of Art informing me that my portrait of Will Barnet has been mentioned in their 2013 Annual report on page 21. It reads – The artists’ portraits collection added self-portraits by Arthur Fellig, known as Weegee, c. 1950; Philippe Halsman, c. 1955–1960; and Jerry Uelsmann, c.1970. Other artists’ portraits include Fernand Léger by Herbert Matter, 1939; Frida Kahlo by Manuel Alvarez – Bravo, c.1938, printed 1960; Paul Eluard in his apartment by Brassaï, 1944, printed 1960; Andy Warhol being photographed by Horst by David Bailey,1972; and Will Barnet by JoAnne Kalish, 2005, printed 2013. David Dufour donated a pair of photograph postcards of Marsden Hartley by Carl van Vechten,1939.
Totally an honor to be amongst the group. It was a great way to end the week on such a high note!
Photograph the person with a portrait lens and with minimum depth of field, unless of course, you’re doing an environmental portrait. Make your subject feel comfortable and relaxed by talking to them and telling them what you would like to do. If it’s a formal portrait in the studio, make sure your lights are all set up. Your camera should be set to the right exposure beforehand, as well as knowing where you stool will be placed if you are using one etc. Have the person sit with one shoulder a little more towards you instead of straight on as it’s much more flattering. When you are making these portraits keep shooting and show the person a photo or two so they become more involved in the process. Always suggest to the person that they wear something they feel comfortable in. Layers of clothing are nice for both men and women as it adds interest. I personally like soft feminine and flattering necklines as well for women. If they wear glasses either ask them to remove them or place the glasses a little lower on the bridge of their nose so as not to see the reflection of the lights (you might have to move your lights.) Remember most women need softer lighting as it’s more flattering. When photographing in available light and on-the-fly you need to quickly come up with an interesting and appropriate background which will not detract from the person. Obviously if it’s an environmental portrait you may want to use the person’s workspace or living space to tell something about the person. If you can, try to have more than one idea where to place the person and move them around. Again more times than not, this relaxes the person and puts them more at ease, knowing you know what you’re doing.