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Opportunist that I can be, when Reagan got elected in 1980 I knew aerospace would grow in California. He gave DOD Secretary Weinberger a blank check and told him to buy anything that would make the Russians jealous. He did. It did. And it tripled the debt. (So much for the fiscal conservative Republican phonies). The annual edition of Aeronautics and Space Magazine listed all the companies nationwide. There were about 1000 in California alone. Got my friend Holly on the phone to make cold calls to marketing and advertising executives, sales managers and presidents of small and mid-size companies. (20 million gross sales was a small company.) I called myself MetroGraphix. I used all I had learned doing photography and paste-up for Windsor Publications for six years. I was in the right place at the right time and got some accounts right away. Later I got ex-girlfriend Jody to be my rep. She was great. I was a one-man band as I did it all, including product photography. designing brochures, advertisements, flyers, and such. I really enjoyed shooting parts of airplanes and aerospace equipment. And this was BC -- before computers! The toughest part was finding the right printer for the job. Then one day I made an almost fatal error – I joined a theatre company and wrote a play! So much for aerospace. My life changed. I crossed my artistic Rubicon.

19 files, last one added on Mar 18, 2014
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Actors Repertory Theatre New York


I have written about my years at the Actors Repertory Theatre in New York many times. Here are some of my early theater people, including our director Wendell K. Phillips. Robert Bly in "Iron John" posits that every man, for a full emotional and intellectual development, must have an older man who is not a relative as a mentor at a crucial time in his youth. That was Wendell, the most formidable and important teacher in my life. He was the genius I found on the first try. Despite his many ethical and moral flaws, I owed him more than I can even remember now. He died in 1990. I went to the memorial in Berkeley. I was somewhat hurt that his wife, sons, and daughter, Wendy, a successful actress (“Midnight Run”, “Bugsy”) did not ask me to speak. They knew how highly I regarded him. I had more to say than all of them put together. He always told me that I was his best student, by far, that I possessed not only a relentless passion for theatre, but a formidable intellect as well. I was flattered, but easily agreed with him. They never truly understood the man, his intellectual power, his knowledge of psychology; He was, as was not fashionable in the early fifties, fiercely anti-Freudian (too mechanical) and pro-Reichian (whom he saw as based on Zen Buddhism, a philosophy Wendell adored) . His knowledge of art and politics was far reaching and comprehensive. He was educated on a myriad of subjects.

Politically he was, as you might expect, a dedicated liberal, as were just about every important artist in those days, including Picasso, Steinbeck, Miller, Hemingway, Faulkner, Brecht, Chaplin, Wells, and many, many more. (Dali was, no surprise, an exception.) His didactic style included many personal stories from his childhood, his early theatre days, his Broadway successes, and his Group Theatre experiences. Later I learned that as much as he spoke of Kazan, Strasberg and others as if they were close friends, some of those references were more fantasy than fact. (But informative nevertheless.) Even now I can expound on his ideas for hours without repeating myself.

Wendell Phillips, actually codified a theory of art. He called it Paradox and Revelation. It was a brilliant accomplishment, absolutely incomparable to anything else I have heard or read about the subject of Art. It was the nexus of his teachings. And it had practical applications that were used in class. Not a one of those acting school “teachers” - who live off the dreams of the kids – could possibly understand how it works within one's personal discipline, be it acting, painting, writing, or even simply analyzing a work of art. He spoke highly of Lee Strasberg, whom he said was a true theatre intellectual. Nevertheless, I consider them all to be parasites who make a living teaching “acting” whatever that is. I despise especially the ones who camp in and around Hollywood and preach a personal concoction of drama-babble. ( I have met a few, believe me.) They might just as well sell snake oil in some ratty mid-west carnival. No surprise here, all are self-hating failed actors or directors themselves. Concluding this unapologetic hagiography of Wendell K. Phillips, he did not teach acting, he taught "Thinking 101". The highest complement you can pay a teacher.

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The Association


I met their manager, Pat Colecchio socially, and pressed him for a job. He hooked me up with Freeman and Sutton, their PR firm. I wrote bios and press releases. I interviewed Bill Cosby for a trade magazine. They raved about my work. But after about a year Joe Sutton fired me just before Christmas. No reason. Found out later our secretary wanted my job. She got it. (I thought she was a friend.) Pat said not to worry as now you will work for me directly, handling all publicity tasks and also shooting their album covers. I went on tour. I wrote puff pieces for teenie magazines. We had an office on Sunset, next to Geffen. I built a darkroom. It was a sweet gig. I took thousands of shots of the guys, as Pat would call them. Here are just a few. Meanwhile, Joe became Neil Diamond’s manager. Neil was opening at the Troubadour and Joe called me to shoot and if the artistic director of Uni Records liked my stuff maybe an album cover. I did. He did. It was called "Touching You, Touching Me." I will always love Joe Sutton for bringing me into Neil’s circle. They used everything I shot. I went on tour. Then Neil fired Joe and the new manager fired me just before Neil was opening at The Greek. I went right to work for the Association for about three years.

132 files, last one added on Apr 19, 2014
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Not that many, actually. The Orson Welles shot was for a documentary on Raymond Chandler. It was in an alley in Hollywood at night. Welles was in a black overcoat, sitting on a stool looking all of 400 pounds. I didn't have a blimp (a sound-proof cover for the camera that allows you to shoot during a take) so I would shoot between takes. I used my portrait lens, the ubiquitous Nikon 105 mm used by everyone. I was at his eye level. Then trying to be creative I put my wide angle lens on and got down on one knee. Welles exploded. “No more stills! Get the still photographer out of here!” he yelled. They hustled me off the set. I thought it was funny as he knew that that angle would make him look morbidly obese. And it did, of course. I stupidly gave all the developed film and some prints to the producer and never saw him again. Luckily, I kept just this one as the son of a bitch was lighting a cigar.

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Never an afterthought.

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I always knew I could make a buck at photography. The Mercedes car top hoist was my first commercial design and photograph ever! It’s rather ordinary, but not too bad, considering.

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Neil Diamond


All business. Rarely a warm hello or how you doing, Jim? Never a compliment despite that Uni Records and his PR people used everything I shot for over a year or so. Four or five album covers, press photos, liner shots, article in Rolling Stone. But what I remember most was when we were on tour in San Francisco, Neil stopped the show and sang a little anti-drug song as heart-felt advice to the kids. This despite the fact that I had seen him in his dressing room smoking a joint as big as a Havana Cigar, I was doing blow all day as was the head roadie who was supplying me, and I am sure the band didn’t know what town we were in. Hypocrite? Are you kidding? I was looking forward to his first Greek Theater show when his new manager called me in and asked lots of personal questions about Neil. The next day he fired me. Over his entire career Neil never stopped hiring different photographers. So much for loyalty. He never knew who he was or wanted to look like. It’s all in “I Am I Said”, his most autobiographical song. I got some great shots during that recording session.

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(To determine scale see an actual key at the top of the first photo)

Max Shertz was another incredible force in my life. He was a most supreme egoist. He also considered himself a demiurge. I cannot stress that enough. But he was also the most fascinating person I ever knew. I met him in Hollywood, in Schwab’s parking lot in 1962 when he came up to me and started to tell me about his English Rover. He tried to control everything and everybody. As a painter he had no trouble telling the world he was a genius. Indeed, his body of work was quite extensive. He asked me to photograph this diorama which he had created. Afterwards he promptly told me I had failed to realize his vision. I told him beforehand that I had never done micro photography, but I would try. If you look carefully at these photos, you will find it impossible to believe anyone could construct such a miniature thing, using twigs, grass, leaves, matchboxes, pieces of wood and plastic. I am convinced he did. But the photos are, considering I was in new territory, pretty good.

33 files, last one added on Aug 18, 2012
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Dr. Gording


Jon Gording was a good friend and a great client for about 20 years. I designed quite a few trade ads, brochures, and flyers. We worked together many times as I always turned his ideas into reality. Besides prescribing and selling eye glasses and frames, he supplied special effects contact lenses for movie stars, including Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Charlize Theron, and many others. Together with Jim Troesh I designed a beautiful eight page website. On the home page it had a blinking eye that showed about a dozen different special effects. The website contained about 20 of my photos. It was terrific. I was very proud of it. Best of all Troesh made about two grand on that job. As the years went by I would design something for Jon every month or so. Then one day I dropped by as he was complaining bitterly that he had expanded his offices just as the recession hit. He was in a foul mood. Not the Jon I had known. I believe his inner life had become a hoax. I had a friend that needed reading glasses. She had insurance. But not only did Jon supply the glasses, he ran her through a batch of expensive tests and the bill came out to over six hundred. There was a mix up with the payment. He called me, furious, and demanded full payment instantly. He had one of his people call and start threatening. I could not believe his attitude. Then the collection agency thugs started dunning me. I was incredulous. On top of that he redesigned the website and now it looked like shit. I thought that was an unnecessary and spiteful thing to do. I only felt pity for him at that point. And still do. I always knew he was pussy-whipped, (his wife was a horror) but now I was sure.

12 files, last one added on Jul 02, 2014
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Early Years


While at the ART one day a so-called acting teacher named Lou Biro handed me a 35mm Graflex SLR. He told me I was a photographer. Just like that. The proof sheet of my first roll of film is here. I shot the outside of my brownstone in Brooklyn, and then went to Manhattan to the Thalia theater to see a Valentino movie called "The Eagle." Outside the movie there was this little old man with a street camera. He took your picture for a quarter. I took two frames of him – one portrait, one landscape. I also shot some frames of the movie inside. I somehow knew even then that photography would be a big part of my life, my art, my very meaning. Lou Biro was an advertising executive and a dear friend of my mentor, Wendell Phillips. Actually he didn’t know anything about acting but he was charming and lovable.

16 files, last one added on Mar 18, 2014
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What is fashion anyway? The one genre of photography I made the least money. I was talking to an asshole down at the Mart who wanted me to photograph his line of clothes. When I asked for some guidance – outdoors, studio, and so forth, he said “I don’t know what I want but I’ll know it when I see it.” I almost told him to go fuck himself as I ankled.

31 files, last one added on Apr 19, 2014
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Greece 1963


My dad invested in a Greek producer for a movie to be shot in Athens in return for a part for me. It was a heist film called “The Poor Devils.” Desda and I were there for four months. The only good thing that came from that disaster was that Christi was born in Athens in 1964. I never did see it.

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Greece 1977


Took Christi to Athens to visit my sister. We spent a month, and did the required tourist places. It was fun but I couldn’t wait to get home.

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I always had a knack for what they call headshots. I hate that word. Prefer to call them portraits.

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Heather Locklear


I decided to shoot fashion and got Willomena agency to send me some young models for testing to build up my book. An unknown Heather Locklear showed up and we hit it off. We went to Palm Springs, shot at my house, Century City, around town and in my studio. It was 1980 or so. She was a natural. Years later, around 2004, E! Entertainment called me. They were planning a documentary on Heather. The producer, Michael Hacker (the name should have been a clue!), offered me 100 bucks for every photo he would use. I gave him proof sheets and negatives and lots of transparencies. I trusted him. He paid me one thousand bucks, telling me had used 10 shots. Okay so far. But when I saw the documentary I freaked. Did he think I was not going to see it? Not only did he use 36 photos, he attributed a batch to another photographer! I was livid. He apologized and made some bull shit excuse. I sued them but only got another 500. I let show biz fuck me again.

10 files, last one added on Aug 18, 2012
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July Webb was a young lady I photographed for about two years. I used her in about a dozen Fromez print ads. She didn't have a bad angle. We sent some photos to a Cosmopolitan magazine competition for Promising Newcomer of the Year.

She won. They printed a batch of my pictures (without attribution, again.) I lost track of her.

49 files, last one added on Jul 02, 2014
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Kodachrome film is obsolete as of 2009, much to the despair of dedicated photographers. It was the Holy Grail of film with a dye transfer process for colors that could not be matched for saturation, clarity, and resolution by any other film. A batch of Kodachromes of mine got wet. I was about to toss them but looked closely. It seemed that the different color layers blended into one another creating a beautiful design. I printed a few. I like them for their abstract serendipitous originality. According to Wikipedia , “Because of the uptake of alternative photographic materials, its complex processing requirements, and the widespread transition to digital photography, Kodachrome lost its market share, its manufacturing was discontinued in 2009 and its processing ended in 2010.”

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Set of shots done for Nursing Careers Magazine.

Nurses working in Emergency Rooms.

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Odds 'n Ends


Need I say more?

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Our Sunday Visitor


My best friend since grammar school in Brooklyn, Frank Inchautequiz, got a sales manager position at a Catholic publishing company near Fort Wayne, Indiana. They needed a photographer to illustrate educational film strips. It was simply a slide projector synchronized to a cassette tape player. You would see a slide and hear a narration. This was, of course, before video was available. Each strip would have 60 slides. They were about the sacraments – weddings, funerals, baptisms, holy orders, confirmations, penance, and so forth. Simple stories – or rather simplistic -- geared to kids from Kindergarten to high school. One size fit all. And always with the moral explained carefully at the end. They also wanted the stories to have scenes mostly from the New Testament and a few from the Old Testament interjected. Here they are. I worked for almost two years on the entire project, took about 1,000 shots and made around 40 grand. And I passively learned a lot about Catholicism.

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Ricky Nelson


Of all the luminaries I met in rock ‘n roll (not that many) none was more gentle, honest, and uncomplicated than Ricky Nelson. Simple, actually. I only shot him about four or five times, at the Troubadour and at his house in the Hollywood hills. His record company used very little, if any, but he paid me directly. Not much, as I remember. At the Troubadour I shot multiple images on the same 2 -1/4” frame and got some great stuff. I am sure I was the first to do that. I used the same technique with Neil Diamond and that shot became Neil’s “Gold” album cover.

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Rock 'n Roll


Besides the obvious, some of these groups I can’t remember at all. But they were always fun, a challenge to be creative, and paid from very little to nothing. Most were jujene jerks, but I got along with them.

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I was in my first off-Broadway play. A sweet agent, Dora Weissman, sent me to audition for Jacob Ben-Ami. He was casting a Yiddish play, in English, for two weeks in Montreal and Toronto called “The World of Sholom Alichem.” Later I was to find that he was one of the iconic actors of Yiddish theater. And an artistic hero of my mentor Wendell Phillips. I was to play the Gentile boy in a simple story with a moral. But I played three other small parts as well. I was accepted by these wonderful actors who noticed I didn’t know diddly about theater. My audition consisted of Jacob looking me over carefully and asking me, in a husky whisper, if I had ever been on stage. When I said yes he asked me if I wanted to go to Canada. When I said yes he said you are hired. (That was my most favorite audition of all time.) In one part I played an angel (yes, an angel) next to Celia Adler, the mother of Stella, Luther, and Jay. It was a glorious time and I cherish some precious moments from that experience. We played Her Majesty’s Theatre in Montreal (gone now) and The Royal Alexandra in Toronto. I was in Toronto in 2009 and shot this outside the theatre. When I asked Jacob what he thought of Chaplin, he said with required sarcasm, "Every clown wants to play 'Hamlet'."

13 files, last one added on Sep 07, 2012
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Wendy and Lisa


I loved working with a special black and white Kodak film called 5457, commonly known as “recording film.” It had a beautiful grainy effect, with fine detail in black areas and the whites never washed out. The speed was ASA 1000, but you could shoot it at 2, 4, our 8 thousand and get images. It was also called surveillance film. I took these two cuties to a friend's house, told them to ignore me, and just hang out. I shot about ten rolls. It was fun, and I believe I found a sensitivity that says something about how young women can bond – simply, lovingly, shamelessly, and without any sense of sexuality.

9 files, last one added on Sep 07, 2012
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Windsor Publications


For six years I traveled up and down California, from El Cajon to Oroville, taking Chamber of Commerce type pix and writing inane stories about the town. Most of the articles were called “Quality of Life.” (Try writing 200 words about the new water treatment plant in Vallejo.) I would design and create a 32 page color magazine. Windsor paid very well, and I was my own boss. It was a fine gig. I thought it would last forever. The Golden Hind photos were shot in San Francisco. It was an exact replica that was built in England. Sir Frances Drake circumnavigated the globe in the 16th Century. Hard to believe. But eventually one of the other photographers became the photo editor at Windsor who gave out the assignments. He was an arrogant scumbag whom I detested. It was time for me to move on. Then I decided to get into aerospace.

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I should say less.

207 files, last one added on Jul 02, 2014
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Wonder Years


Everything I shot for The Wonder Years television series was used on camera, in the show itself, mostly during the opening credits. I found the actors rather dull, including Fred Savage, who played the lead son. One morning a young high school age girl in a wheel chair visited the set. Fred spent most of the day chatting with her, much to her joy, as you might imagine. When I first met him I thought he was a rather talentless jerk, but I liked him for that.

11 files, last one added on Sep 07, 2012
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