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A Morning With Eisie and Carl….

Jul 27

In Friends, history, Thoughts at 4:56pm


And Gordon, Ernst, Margaret……..

Had a terrific week in Santa Fe. Great class. Nice bunch of folks who produced some pictures that were much more than nice. We rocked and rolled all week with big and small flash, in the usual collection of fascinating places, working with the unusual, interesting and beautiful faces of the Santa Fe Workshops model community, many of whom are my dear friends, and populate numerous pages of The Hot Shoe Diaries. I’ve got a great relationship with a bunch of the folks who pose for the workshops. Like Deidre. She called me last week and said, “Hey, I shaved my head! Wanna shoot me?” Answer below.


More on D in a future blog….

That’s always the fun stuff. Every week long workshop, I host what I call the business breakfast to talk about the un-fun stuff. It’s generally a long meal, peppered with nettlesome questions about how to survive as a photog, how to make it, construct portfolios, find clients, price jobs…..the grist of turning our passion into pictures that make money. I do this during the daylight hours. If we met for dinner, it would most likely become something of a religious drunk, with many tequila laced epithets, confessions, admonitions and apocalyptic descriptions about just how wrong the business of photography has gone. The entire conversation would simply degenerate into a bunch of extended vowel sounds, kinda like a set of James Brown lyrics.

I attempt to be coherent, and thoughtful, though it’s hard. When you hear about a recent cover of Time magazine being bought off Istock for $30, it’s easy to just think about reaching for the sawed off and giving them sumbitches what for. But this whole numbing process has been going on for so long it would be difficult to sort out the most deserving sumbitches, and truth be told, some of them be us.

So you know what saved the day? What elevated us all? A visit to Sid and Michelle. The Monroe Gallery of Photography currently has a show called “A Thousand Words.”  Walking into those four walls adorned with those pictures is to leave all the other crap behind, and be lifted up by the most beautiful breeze you can imagine. The images cut to the chase and the heart. You get goose bumps. Your eyes sting. You remember why you picked up a camera in the first place.

Sid and Michelle are so knowledgeable, and for them, the pictures on the walls are family, just like the people who made them, though a fair number of those shooters are gone, which makes preserving their legacy all the more necessary. They told my class stories and a bit about their wonderful philosophy, which is, simply put, that pictures are important, and have value.

Bill Eppridge’s pictures from RFK’s campaign are on the wall, and Sid showed the class Bill’s book. In A Time It Was, Bill’s visual record of Bobby’s campaign, is the charred master print of the busboy cradling the senator’s head. It was damaged in the Laurel Canyon fires that swept through Bill’s home, but the core of the image is still there, and the charred edges make that moment all the more searing and painful to look at.


The lead photo of the show is Eisie’s famous drum major shot. I used to bump into Eisie all the time as he padded the hallways of the 28th floor of Time Inc. “Hello McNally,” accompanied by a fairly dismissive wave of the hand was generally as far as the conversation got. As the story goes, Eisie was waiting at the elevator on 28 with a bunch of other photogs. The doors opened and they all crowded in, the diminutive Eisie found himself in close quarters, surrounded by younger, taller photographers.

He looked around. “I used to be just as tall as all of you,” he said in his German accent. He made a couple dramatic shrugs of his shoulders, the kind of motion you would make if you were carrying something heavy. “The equipment, the equipment,” was all he said.

Driving through the desert. Damn hot. Blogging from the van. 10 hours to San Francisco, where Drew and I do two workshop days at Google, and then a stop for Kelby Tours. After that, we disappear into the land of the yellow border.

More tk…..

Ron says:

on July 27, 2009 at 5:26 pm

Deidre is one sexy/crazy woman.
I had the pleasure to work with here in June in Santa Fe.
All the models in Santa Fe were great to work with.

Louis says:

on July 27, 2009 at 5:59 pm

Thanks for the breakfast get together. The business side of photography can be disheartening but by networking with fellow photogs, exchanging ideas and having the sheer tenacity not to give in, I believe we can make it.

The Monroe Gallery tour had many of us chocking. Would love to buy Nick Ut’s picture of the girl hurt by napalm and then your capture of her many years later. It would complete the story.

Mason Trullinger says:

on July 27, 2009 at 6:13 pm

Man, I wonder if all those workshops that the Googlers get to attend (Strobist, One Light, McNally/Kelby) are mentioned in their salary packages when they are trying to recruit the hot shot geeks? “Oh, you received an offer from Microsoft? Are you a photographer by chance?”

Marcin Retecki says:

on July 27, 2009 at 6:56 pm

I wish there were more such galleries. In my country (Poland) you wouldn’t find such collection. The ones I’ve seen were just made by locals, never any well-known or even foreign photogs. Luckily we have your book in here :)

Roger Botting says:

on July 27, 2009 at 7:03 pm

My brother-in-law once had a print of the University of Michigan Drum Major. Bought it at one of Eisenstats last shows, on Martha’s Vinyard. I shook Eisie’s hand at the time. I thanked him for being one of my inspirations to be a photographer, he grunted. His longevity in the photo biz didn’t rub off on me. He wasn’t very tall!
The print died in the WTC. My brother-in-law bought another copy. Its now at his house.

Bill Bogle Jr. says:

on July 27, 2009 at 11:30 pm


You have to forgive time for what they have done. Now that they only have 12 pages to print, they have to work on their costs. It is like the shrinking newspapers, in size and thickness. Gannett has cut the Poughkeepsie Journal, the claimed oldest newspaper in the U, down to tabloid size, 4 sheets a section, and printed in Westchester, with a cut off time of 9:00 pm. Mu daughter is interning there this summer. Her education has included the first day to report to her editor, to find he is on furlow, and a bloodletting a couple of weeks ago where 10 people got let go. Sobering times for PJs to say the least. But she is learning and loving it. Please continue to be the inspiration to so many of us. Thank you for more than just the stunning pictures. Thank you for your insights, your concerns, your frenetic energy and your compassion.

Bill Bogle, Jr.

Eric says:

on July 28, 2009 at 1:28 am

Man, everyone is doing shops at Google.

When you coming to Austin?

Fred Troilo says:

on July 28, 2009 at 9:41 am

Not to mention the EXPLOSIVE outcomes that some of the finer eating establishments of Santa Fe offer up! The breakfast sessions are great…


Dawn Norris says:

on July 28, 2009 at 10:19 am

I’m beginning to believe that the plight of the photographer from the business side of things is just what keeps us hungry (mostly starving), what makes the real deal professional remain standing when the others fall away because it “gets too hard”. Perhaps it is at that point, where you have to fight for your desires, your passions to do whatever it takes to stay behind the lens that will keep the term “professional”, well professional? As a private commission photog (for hire to families, soccer moms, and new moms, and others) and one who does commercial work as well, I’m learning that the layperson believes it’s all in the camera – the camera does the work so anyone can do “it” and for peanuts since “anyone can do it”. The struggle is part of the journey and, as is evident from the Time magazine cover for $30 bucks incident, proof that the path is changing… The world of photography is changing – but we have to know it’s for the better. But, Joe, your words about the transformation and the feeling of “Walking into those four walls adorned with those pictures is to leave all the other crap behind, and be lifted up by the most beautiful breeze you can imagine. The images cut to the chase and the heart. You get goose bumps. Your eyes sting. You remember why you picked up a camera in the first place.” Those images don’t create themselves, they are an extension of the one behind the camera with the experience, the talent, the knowledge, a vision, the passion. We passionate ones need to take the new path of photography and do whatever it takes to keep on creating, raise the bar, and change the face of the business side in all the ways we can so others can feel that “beautiful breeze” in the future. We need to stop selling out, giving it away, pimping ourselves out so that value remains, so that people “get it”. There’s nothing more rewarding than a private or commercial client who “gets it”. But to have the lay person “get it”, that’s the kicker. That’s the real deal.

One my way back from Texas last week to visit family, I had a two hour drive so I took out Hot Shoe Diaries and my aunt, uncle, and mom couldn’t take their eyes away, it made the rounds as we drove and they were each blown away by the images, the humor, and the impact the images left on them. That’s the real deal. That’s what happens when someone like you Joe, pours themselves into creating images that leave an impact, tell a story (with a s-it load of time, money, and talent to create those shots). My family members may not have remembered the front page of the newspaper that morning (the one that made it’s way to line the cat’s litter box by the way) but they sure as hell keep talking about that book by Joe “with those AMAZING images…” weeks later…

Thanks Joe for keeping us focused on the real deal;)

Hugs and with tremendous gratitude,

Bob Guercio says:

on July 28, 2009 at 10:21 am


I loved the photograph of Diedre.

I’m not sure if I’m way off base here but my interpretation of this photo was that she looked like a beautiful alien in a science fiction movie.

Definitely Star Trek material!

Bob Guercio

salim says:

on July 28, 2009 at 10:36 am

There is a big fuss about this $30 photo..
Well everyboyd is moaning about the money the photographer got paid but in my opinion if you actually think what time wanted to prove was actauly the present fuss about recession..saving money. Time covers are not about the photography but its more deeper then that.. and what they wanted to show the world was how to connect the concept of recession with the front page.. i mean Time’s ppl dont want to save like 1000 bucks when they make millions.. they dont care about small chunks but they wanted to tell the story in more practical way rather then paying joe mcnally or chase jarvis to shoot a jar of coins..
its seeems photographers are going nuts about time’s paying this guy $20. the publicity he got was worth more then he deserved in cash for that pics…

Sara Churchill says:

on July 28, 2009 at 6:10 pm

I agree with Bob. The cold blue lighting is spectacular in the photograph of Diedre. Matches the metal look of the background quite well.

Henry Dasilva says:

on January 28, 2010 at 5:06 pm

I admire your web page , it’s filled of lot of information. You just got one perennial visitor of this site!

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