25 June 2009

Michael Joseph Jackson. Aug. 29, 1958 - June 25, 2009.

NEW YORK, NY USA. Michael Jackson pauses during a press conference at Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network Headquarters in Harlem, NY on Saturday, July 6, 2002. Jackson joined Rev. Sharpton and other community leaders in support of an initiative to help protect the rights of recording artists against the unjust business practices of recording companies, such as SONY Records, headed by Tommy Mottola. © Chet Gordon / THE IMAGE WORKS.

*Although I never got to see Michael Jackson perform or photograph him in concert, I jumped at the opportunity to attend a press conference a few years ago at Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network's HQ in Harlem.
When I worked as a photo-editor at the NY Daily News, a dear colleague of mine called me late the night before and I remember hustling to Manhattan from my Westchester apt., bringing along an aluminum step-ladder slung over my shoulder as I wanted to be high over the press photographer's heads clamoring for position when things got going. I knew I wanted to "lay back" with my 300mm and if memory serves, a tele-extender attached, to make a lot of my frames during the press conference. (Thanks for that 'heads-up' call, Budd Williams) Say what you will about Michael's personal antics later in his life, he always will be remembered as one of the world's greatest entertainers... -cg.

23 June 2009

Kodachrome is retired by Eastman Kodak Co. 22•June•09

"Goodbye, Old friend..."

Ever since I can remember, I've wanted to take pictures. Like the pros. Used to cut out images from the major magazines, and literally tape them to my bedroom wall as a teenager growing up on the NJ Shore. I'd also collect these clippings in binders and committed to memory the name photographers of the day.
When I began seriously shooting slide film back in the early 80's, Kodachrome was an automatic requirement, just like the big boys. I've run a lot of transparency films through my Nikons and Leica through the years, and nothing matched the consistency, tonal range, contrast and of course flesh tones that Kodachrome film stock provided. For me, Kodachrome Professional 64 (PKR-64) was the standard when I traveled internationally. With Kodak's announcement yesterday that they're discontinuing the film, it surely marks the end of an era for those of us that know.
Yea, like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, "I've always wanted to "take" pictures. Kodachrome "made" me a photographer... -cg.

Read about it here and here.

10:45PM: More on my Kodachrome images:

After quickly producing the images of my mounted & unmounted archived Kodachrome slides earlier this morning, I was quite pleased to see that my editorial stock agency, THE IMAGE WORKS posted the files within the hour on their main search page. Nice work, guys. Now let's hope for a few "bites" from their clients on any of these images. -cg.

18 June 2009

"Back to the Ballpark..." 17•June•09

It was kind of fun to return to a pro ballpark yesterday for a minor baseball team's media day. Even it was only a Class A Short Season team here in our area, The Hudson Valley Renegades. There's still something nice about arriving to a ballpark or arena when it's empty, and you're there to work. Maintenance crews on riding mowers, others doing touch-up painting around the field, and a bucket truck behind the outfield wall hoisting an electrician high to make scoreboard inspections and repairs, are all part of the behind the scenes look before Friday's opening night game.
I found myself reminiscing about the days when I'd covered the Yankees, Mets, Knicks, and Nets' media days at their respective practice facilities with the hordes of NYC photographers and national media types too. (Yes, including MLB Spring Training & exhibition games down in FL years ago for the NY teams.) Not to mention the 5+ years of MLB baseball I'd covered as a staff photographer at The Journal News in the mid-90's and as a lead photo-editor at the NY Daily News, where I'd helped to coordinate our team of 5 staff photographer's coverage during the Yankee playoffs earlier this decade. To put it in sort of perspective - I've seen a lot of baseball. Bringing a full set of Dyna-Lite strobes, complete with the full assortment of stands, clamps, umbrellas, gaffer's tape, Pocket-Wizards, cords, and obviously more gear than I'd realistically need still made the mid-morning assignment fun.
I'd rehearsed in my head that I'd arrive at least an hour and a half early and tape up a small piece of white seamless paper in the dugout to make headshots of the players, and portraits on the field. Everything worked out well when there were two electrical outlets right near the bullpen telephones in the home team's dugout. I'd even brought two long heavy duty extension cords and a multi-plug surge protector. I knew I wanted to at least make my head shots "tight & bright" on a low ISO, so I'd need power for the strobe. Otherwise I'd be forced to use the small portable strobes, although I knew they wouldn't allow me to continually shoot at the high power setting I'd need to get f/8 or higher at ISO 100 or so. Thank goodness for the little things.
The players were great. Some as young as 19 years old, (like opening night pitcher Albert Suarez from Venezuela at left) and first year manager Brady Williams (below) is the son of a long time major league manager, Jimmy Williams.
I'm hoping we get to cover a few of the Renegades' games this season, and hopefully even a behind the scenes look at a "Day in the Life" take on the team when they go on the road - which of course is only in the tri-state area. I'm sure they just travel to games by bus, so thinking ahead and already mentioning this to the sports editor, I know it'd be a good opportunity to produce a multi-media slideshow with audio. The team boasts a few good prospects, so I'm guessing a few of them have a good shot at making it to the big leagues sometime down the road. Stay tuned. -cg.

13 June 2009

*My photo in NEED Magazine blog. June 2009

*It means the world to me that one of my photographs appears in NEED Magazine's grass roots campaign "Screw the Man - Save the World" where they're using powerful imagery to help encourage readership & subscriptions, thereby helping to eliminate corporate ("the Man") advertising altogether. This image was made in April 2006 while on a volunteer mission with Operation Smile in Amman, Jordan treating 100 Iraqi children from Baghdad with facial deformaties. For the last ten years I've tirelessly volunteered my time in documenting missions with Operation Smile all over the world, and needless to say, this was a very emotional mission for me to be a part of... -cg.

More info on the campaign, NEED Magazine & Operation Smile here:

*(Original Caption) AMMAN, JORDAN. An Iraqi mother watches as doctors and support staff with Operation Smile treat her child at the Jameel Tatonji Hospital in Amman, Jordan on Monday, April 24, 2006. An Operation Smile team of international medical volunteers were in Jordan from April 20-29 providing free medical evaluations and reconstructive surgery to Iraqi children suffering with facial deformities. This marked the third mission during which Operation Smile medical volunteers have worked in Amman to treat children from Iraq. Operation Smile Jordan, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and the Jordanian Society for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, has organized missions providing surgeries to more than 700 Jordanian and Iraqi children since 2000. Operation Smile of Norfolk, VA has provided free facial reconstructive surgery to children and young adults in 30 countries the last 24 years. © Chet Gordon for Operation Smile.

12 June 2009

BDA. "Like Nowhere else on the Planet..." June 2009.

Finally getting around to posting a brief slideshow of my week in Bermuda (BDA) last week. It is the only destination I know of so close to home where I can still get lost visually, and almost spiritually if you will. It's always a well-deserved treat to return to the island. It is just so relaxing to re-explore some of the most beautiful beaches I know of anywhere, zip around the island on a scooter, watch a little cricket, of course have my fill of "Dark & Stormies™..."

Cheers, -cg.

*(Click the arrow at the bottom left of the player to start the slideshow, or click the image / or the arrows at lower right to scroll through the show manually. Enable full screen viewing by clicking the 4-way arrow icon above the credits button at lower right of the player. There is no audio with this brief slideshow.)