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Archive for the ‘Friends’ Category

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….


Jul 29

In Friends at 5:40am

Earnie Grafton, who as I mentioned the other day is a long time bud, former military shooter, and currently a staffer at the San Diego Trib, made an, uh, adjustment on my soft box the other day. Earnie! It’s spelled “numnuts!”

One of the reasons to hang in this business as long as I have is to be blessed with talented, wacked friends…..enjoy the weekend everybody!

More tk….

Circa Early Launches….

Jul 11

In Friends, history at 11:15pm

Okay, so here’s a picture blast from the past….

Following on from last week, Hank Morgan sent me a snap of the two of us, prepping for launch, with the VAB in the background. We used everything, as you can see. When you put 20 remotes in the swamp, you get skinny on long glass, so we had Nikons, Canons, Hulchers, you name it. A staple for a launch were Nikon F2 hi speed cameras with a fixed pellicle mirror that could fire 10 fps, and rip through 100 foot rolls of chrome before you could say “go for launch.”

Okay, okay, the mustache didn’t work…..more tk….