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Archive for the ‘Friends’ Category

A Sense of Place

Sep 5

In Friends, history, Links at 8:41am

Hi from Joe….please consider today’s blog an invitation to visit Scott Kelby’s blog…..

I did a story once on Korean green grocers in NYC. Running a produce shop in New York is a tough, 24 hour a day job. To make sure the story got off to a good start, I of course needed a picture of a green grocer that, ideally, showed the enterprise, and the all night, 24/7 nature of it, and, very importantly, show the reader we were talking about New York green grocers, not, you know, ones in San Francisco, or Seattle.

After a lot of scouting, and some pretty fast talking, I got these folks to allow me to shoot their shop. Reason being, of course, the Trade Centers give it a sense of place. They of course thought I was just going to take a picture, not load up their fruit bins with flash. Which is what I did. There’s a bunch of strobes in the store, all green gelled, with a magenta on the lens of the camera. Standard operating procedure for Kodachrome.

Like many NY shooters, I go way back with the Trade Centers, now gone. I write a bit of that story today in Scott Kelby’s blog. Scott, as always, was amazingly gracious in offering me a slot for a special blog post during this very significant week.

My thanks go out to him, and all the wonderful folks at NAPP. If you have a couple minutes, head over to Photoshop Insider, Scott’s blog. More tk….

Scenes from A Show

Aug 26

In Friends, News at 7:12am


We set up the show on Tuesday night. When you need to get something done, it’s always good to have FDNY on your side. Louie Cacchioli rallied the guys, and over 25 firefighters showed up and worked tirelessly from 9pm through till 3am to get this in place for the Wednesday opening press reception. Pushing these frames around, many of which are close to 300 lbs., more than once I was like, “Why’d I have to shoot ‘em so big?”

I was just humbled, really, by the selfless way these guys, many of whom came from way out of town, just pitched in and got this done. My thanks also go out to Related, the owners of the building, which worked with me to allow this to happen. If we had to actually hire shippers and handlers to move it around, it simply would never get done because of the enormous cost. Louie, seen below, has been the face of the show since the book came out in 2002, and he ended up on the cover. I always tell people he’s firefighting’s answer to Robert DeNiro. He’s always been there to help.

It also would never have gotten done, were it not for the tireless efforts of Ellen Price, who has worked with the collection for almost 10 years. Her labors are done behind the scenes, organizing, cataloging, making sure it has been stored properly (24,000 lbs. of photography in museum quality, monitored storage!) and working with the 911 Museum to arrange for its’ eventual home. Below, Ellen works with the guys.

So it got done. It will be on floor of the Time Warner Center, free and open to the public, from 10am to 9pm every day until Sept. 12. After that, we’ll see what happens. More on that tk.

We had lots of press at the opening, and a bunch of subjects from the original project also graciously came. Below, Bill Butler speaks eloquently about the events of 911.

More than 75,000 people a day transit the TW Center. Which means that close to a million people will pass by these over the next couple of weeks. Hopefully, they’ll stop for a moment, and remember.

(all video shot on Nikon D7000’s by Drew Gurian, Michael Cali, Mike Grippi and Lynda Peckham)

More tk…

Not Just Your Average Joe

Aug 22

In Friends, history, News at 10:57am

From the Faces of Ground Zero Project

Joe Hodges, Ladder 6, FDNY, 2001

On medical leave, Hodges was undergoing a stress test at a doctor’s office in Staten Island when the attacks occurred. A 20-year veteran of the DNY, he is eligible to retire but has no plans to do so anytime soon.

“I pulled myself off of medical leave and hiteched a ride on a tugboat to Manhattan. Knowing that everyone I worked with was in the buildings, I had to go. There are so many young guys on the job now, older guys like me have to show them the ropes. It’s a tradition in the fire department. Now’s not the time to leave.

Joe stayed on the job for several more years after 911. He was a quintessential go to guy in the house–veteran firefighter, always up for a laugh or a prank. I have to imagine guys like Joe are the glue that hold a whole firehouse together.  He’s retired now, and thoroughly enjoying that retirement, living out on Staten Island. We visited him recently, shot a few pictures, and had a beer. I know his wife Eileen, who calls him her hero, is happy to have him home and safe, no longer plunging into burning buidlings.

I caught up with Joe a few years back as well, and made a photo with him from Governor’s Island in the New York harbor on July 4th, 2005. For the technically minded, this is one small flash, off to camera right, TTL, and a six second exposure.

Joe’s images and story will be on the floor of the Time Warner Center in NYC, starting this Wednesday.

more tk….

Greetings from Soufriere…

Aug 18

In Friends at 4:47am

Garvey’s hands, with the duty board of the Soufriere Fire Station.

Been coming to St. Lucia for almost 18 years, now, ever since Travel Holiday magazine sent me to paradise in 1994 to shoot a leafy place called Anse Chastanet. I have been here maybe a dozen times since then, and have dear friends on the island. The place is now called Jade Mountain/Anse Chastanet, and it remains remarkable in its’ beauty, made complete by the warmth of the St. Lucian people.

Wandering Soufriere about three years ago with Scott Kelby, who was guest lecturing at a lighting workshop I gave here, we literally just stumbled upon the Soufriere Fire Station, and thought we’d take a look inside. Nothing was planned, and they weren’t expecting us. So needless to say, when firefighter and avid photog Garvey Charlemange realized Scott Kelby was actually in his firehouse, he went to four alarms.

Garvey is one of Scott’s biggest fans, and needless to say his jaw hit the floor faster than a dropped rock. It was as if Garvey had just clicked “scottkelby.com” and, via the magic of the internet, there was Scott, saying, hey, maybe we could shoot together.

We’ve been visiting the fire station now every year, shooting pictures of Garvey and his mates, who are terrific. Last year, we had wrapped our day there,  finished the workshop and gone home when Hurricane Tomas hit. It was a massive storm, and the aftermath was a tough time for the guys at the house. Lots of round the clock rescues and recovery efforts were done, all with limited gear and equipment.

The photo business is about giving back, right? I’d never even know these guys if it weren’t for photography. When a photograph is made, at least some of time, a bond is also created. They invited our workshop into their shop. So, right after the hurricane, we sent workshop money back to the fire house. They were very grateful, and Garvey told me yesterday that the dough was directly used to help victims and buy new gear.

Garvey also invited these young lads into the firehouse for a quick portrait session. They combine to prove that kids in front of a camera are the same anywhere in the world. They can only hang onto it for just so long.

This is a lighting workshop, but all of the above were shot with available light. The shot of Garvey’s hands was actually shot after the sun was well and truly down. ISO 1000, D3S, 24mm lens, Lexar cards.

Home Sunday. More tk…..

Ten Years On…..

Aug 9

In Friends, News at 6:11am

Bill Butler was with Josephine Harris and five other members of Ladder 6, inside the North Tower of WTC when it came down. They resolutely stuck with Josephine, refusing to leave her, despite her painfully slow rate of descent. Bill half carried her, cajoling her all the way about seeing her grandchildren again. The building came down, and the miracle of Josephine’s pace put all of them in a fourth floor stairwell that remained intact. Somehow, as the building came down, crushing everything around it, they, and Josephine, survived.

Bill Butler, 2001, Firefighter, Ladder 6, FDNY

While trapped with Harris and his ladder company in Stairwell B, Butler used a cell phone to call emergency numbers but couldn’t get through. As a last effort, he called his home in Orange County, N.Y. His wife, Diane, answered.

“I just said, “Hi, what are you doing?” I was trying to be nonchalant. She said, “Where are you?” I said “We’re at the World Trade Center.” She asked, “Is everything okay?” Then I said, “Well, we have a little problem. We’re trapped in the Trade Center, but we’re okay.” Then she started to cry a little bit, because she knew there was no World Trade Center. At that point I said, “Listen, you can’t cry. I have to give you some information. You have to call the firehouse or call someone and tell them where we’re at.”

Lieutenant Bill Butler, FDNY, Aug. 3, 2011

Ten years later, Bill is a lieutentant with FDNY, serving at Ladder 56, Engine 48, up in the Bronx. His memories of the day are still vivid, even with the passing of time. Shot this, along with a video interview with Bill, just last week. The interview, and the portraits open at the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, on Aug. 24th.

Exhibition made possible with the generous sponsorship of Nikon USA, Johnson & Johnson, JP Morgan, and friends of the collection.

More tk….