responsiveslider_lol_02 The Language of Light DVD - More
MeetJoe_02 Meet Joe McNally - More
inthebag What’s in the Bag? - More

Archive for the ‘history’ Category

In the News….

Aug 25

In history at 1:04pm


Shot this in 1980, at the Democratic National Convention, Madison Square Garden. The “Man from Plains” had been chosen this night to be the party’s nominee against Ronald Reagan, staving off a challenge from Teddy Kennedy. The night was euphoric and celebratory, but as we all know, Carter didn’t win his second term. He had struggled as president, and the voters reacted.

Think what you will of his presidency, since leaving office he has defined himself as a force for good. I can’t think of another ex-President who has so positively used the leverage of having been President. Sad news he is afflicted with cancer, and I wish him well in this fight.

Photo notes….as always on the final night of the convention, it was a scrum on the floor. I was shooting a 600 and a 300 and trying to stand on a chair, leaning on a monopod for all it was worth, and suffering through the disapproval of the delegates who used creative and colorful language to urge me to get down and out of their sight line. Right next to me was the redoubtable Neil Leifer, who, from that position, made the cover of TIME. I was in the employ of ABC TV at the time and had no idea where my pictures were going. But what I didn’t know was up in rafters, at the command centers of the new operations, the Newsweek crew was scanning the crowd and picked up on me setting up next to Neil. Sue Smith, one of the picture people for the magazine, I believe yelled something like, “I’m gonna kiss Joe McNally on the lips!” (This was how it was relayed to me.)

You see, my editor at ABC was Peter Murray, who had been at Newsweek, and still had loyalty to them. He could direct my take to anybody he wanted. So he would make sure that night Newsweek got first look at my stuff. Didn’t get published, but back then it was so competitive, and Newsweek was always under budget and understaffed relative to TIME, they were ecstatic, as they essentially had just picked up another shooter on the floor, working for them, for free.

Tough take. Pushed tungsten Ektachrome, lost some stuff to being just off on focus. But did get some decent frames.

Long time ago, a happy night for Mr. Carter. Good luck, sir….

More tk….

Things That Stay With You

Aug 17

In history, Thoughts at 7:11am

_JM46938 13-00-43-682A

I had always wanted to meet Julian Bond. He had been a hero of mine since growing up in the sixties. He was a strong, articulate voice for fairness and voting rights, and just plain common sense when it came to the notion of governing. When I photographed him not too long ago, he seemed the picture of health. Now, suddenly, he’s gone. He will be missed. Read the rest of this entry »

Throwback Thursday

May 7

In history at 9:59am


Just visited my old haunts at ABC TV, where the gracious editors let me peruse some of my old pics, and offered me a few scans to have for my archive. I was a staff photographer there during a tumultuous time. Made the first promo pictures of Ted Koppel as they launched Nightline in response to the Iranian hostage crisis. Ted might have had an inkling, but I sure had no idea as I made these in the control room that Nightline was going to go on to become a long running journalistic institution. Read the rest of this entry »


Apr 23

In history, Memories at 3:00pm


Paloma Tryptic_BLOG

You  know you’ve been in the business a long time when startling, talented newcomers cause waves and news, and you photograph their sterling debuts. And then you see them retire.

So it is with Paloma Herrerra, who I photographed years ago for a story in LIFE. She was then the “baby ballerina” of ABT, incredibly gifted, and young, and poised for greatness.

Below, a portrait, onstage at the Met.


Along with Paloma, Julie Kent is also retiring in the next month or so. I only had one chance to photograph her, below, with Marcelo Gomes.


Also exiting the stage is the vibrant and wonderful Xiomara Reyes, another principal with American Ballet Theater. Seasons of change in the world of dance in NY. Below, their pending departures are noted by the Washington Post and the New York Times.

It was a privilege to have photographed these amazing, talented dancers. Definitely, if possible, go to the ABT website and try to see them before they go.

More tk….




Goodbye, Danny…

Apr 20

In Friends, history at 5:36am

When I first arrived in NYC, nurturing faint hopes to become a photographer in the Big Apple, Danny Farrell was the dean of NYC press photography, a class act, and much respected. A shooter’s shooter, nobody was tougher when the job was on the line. He delivered. A resplendent generalist who shot it all, his particular genius was on full display at Yankee Stadium, and at the tracks, Belmont and Aqueduct. Baseball and the horses—nobody beat him. He loved pictures, and life. As good as he was, he was also approachable and decent, always up for a laugh and a beer, or maybe even a good “martooni” as he occasionally called them.

He passed away this week. I will miss that laugh, his distinctive voice, and his wisdom. We will all miss his pictures. The NY Daily News, where he spent his entire 50 year career, did a great thing this week, running a portfolio of his images. Do yourself a favor and hit this link. One photographer, with keen eyes, and an unerring touch for human moments, helped create our collective memory. Below is his most famous frame.

Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 6.00.19 AM

A year or so ago, I went to Danny’s house, and shot the below. My way of saying thanks.


In 1976, I went to NYC straight from photo school at Syracuse University, seeking work as a photog. It was a foolish act, fueled by the lack of knowing and the hubris of youth. New York, a stern taskmistress, sorted me out quite quickly.

The only work I found that was connected to photojournalism was as a copyboy at the New York Daily News, New York’s picture newspaper. They had at the time over 50 staff photographers and a daily run of well over a million copies.

I ran copy from desk to desk, got coffee for nickel tips, and delivered lunches to columnists. My connection to photos was to make subway runs, collecting bags of film from the photogs, especially the sports guys, at the stadiums or Madison Square Garden, and race deadline back to 42nd St. I took home $107 a week, lived in a cockroach laden, tiny, hotbox of an apartment. It was broken into on a couple of occasions, and I lost all my camera gear. I also lost my dad that first year in NY.

No one even thought of me as having potential to actually shoot the pictures. My job was just to run my legs off with bags of pictures somebody else shot. I would go home at night, sit on my bed in the wash of an old, oscillating fan on the floor, and listen to the traffic blaring on Broadway. The stench of garbage, wrapped in the heat of the summer, drifted through the window, leeching into the stained carpet, the sheets, even my sweat. I would sit there in the dark and weep.

It was about that time that Danny Farrell looked at my work. The fact that such a photographic luminary took the time out to look at the portfolio of a desperate copy kid was an act of kindness I have never forgotten. I was broke, running out of hope, and thinking about packing it in. He looked at my pictures. He said, “Kid, you know a picture when you see one. Hang in there.”

When I was sent to Yankee Stadium for a film run, I would race to get there early, and watch him. He shot baseball with a Nikkor 400mm f5,6, with gaffer tape arrows on the barrel, marking the focus points for second base and home plate. Audaciously, he would occasionally give me the camera and lens and let me shoot an inning. I framed up second base once, playing with the focus, and was off his arrow mark. He quickly said to me, “Kid are you sharp there?” I was not, and I told him I was just playing with the focus throw. He relaxed and nodded. “You know, I would double check myself if you thought it was sharp. You got those young eyes.” I know now whereof he spoke. I no longer have young eyes, and good AF is a blessed event, not available to the shooters of that day.

His mantra in bright sun was “A thousand at f11.” I remember one brilliant day, another photog proclaimed loudly in the photog bullpen at the stadium, “So is it two thousand at f8?” Danny said yes, but “I’d rather be a thousand at 11.”

He was laid to rest wearing a tie picturing horses, racing for the finish line, where he would have been waiting. Also, there was a Nikon camera, created of black and silver decorations. At the bottom was a banner–Always at thousand-f11.


At his funeral mass, the fine photojournalist Kathy Kmonicek made a picture of Dan’s great grandson, Braydon, saluting his great grandfather’s coffin as it passed. An amazing, spontaneous echo to mark the passing of a remarkable man.

Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 7.05.14 AM

I will miss him. He meant a lot to all shooters, but in particular the “boys” in the studio, like Johnny Roca and myself. We grew up in his shadow, learning, listening and laughing. We are better for it. A print he signed for me, of one of my favorite pictures, is treasured. Danny Farrell’s signature on a picture about the Knicks winning. Best of a couple worlds, right there.

_JM37784_PRESO copy

Up where you are now, Danny, I’m sure it’s a thousand at 11. And, if by chance we meet again, it would be my honor to run your film once more.

More tk….