Monday, January 16, 2006

On The Beach...

When LIFE Magazine finally gave up trying to compete with the network news back in the 1960's their long time picture editor, Wilson Hicks, was hired by the University of Miami to set up a photojournalism program. The U of M sponsored an annual photojournalism conference every spring with out of towners staying at University Inn just across U.S. 1 from the campus. Those of us who lived in South Florida mostly attended via commute, but we spent evenings at the Inn sitting around the pool, chatting, and comparing notes.

I think it was the second time I attended a conference that I met Jon Sinish. He lived just outside of New York City in the Connecticut suburbs, and when I made my annual pilgramage to The Big Apple I'd stay at his place and take the train in and out of Manhattan along with thousands of others. In turn, he'd stay at my house during the conference and we'd drive to the U of M every day to attend the programs.

The conference gained status as an official annual meeting of ASMP, the Society Of Photographers in Communications. Reps from Leitz, Nikon, Canon, Kodak and other suppliers were there showing off their latest goodies. The world's top photographers lectured and showed slides of their work projected via Carousel projectors. Things originally shot in black and white, or page layouts from magazines, were copied on Kodachrome II film so they could be projected. Three days of lectures and presentations by the likes of Bruce Davidson, W. Eugene Smith, and a host of the world's other top photographer would be enough to leave your head spinning for days afterwards. To actually get to chat with them one on one around the pool in the evenings...words can't describe it.

Jon and I gradually drifted apart as the demands of families took up ever more of our time. After a few years of being renamed The Wilson Hicks Conference it kind of just died out. Jon stopped making his annual visits and I seldom went to New York anymore. With the coming of the internet and email we re-established contact a few years ago. Jon has since made a few trips to Miami and we manage to squeeze in a few hours of driving around town, seeing the changes around that have taken place, visiting some of my media friends he'd met years ago, and just catching up with what's been going on in each other's lives. Meanwhile he's still in the advertising business in Connecticut just outside of New York City. Check out his website:

We make a strange looking pair. It isn't just distortion from the 15mm lens. I'm 6'3" and Jon is a bit shorter than that.


Blogger taffer said...

This made a great reading Al, thanks for posting. Fun enough, for many of us the internet has been what has helped us know so many great people around the photography world and the work of many present and past photographers.
Plus in many occasions it has been the door to real gatherings and making true friends.
So in fact I can't really think of my relationship with photography without including the internet on it...
Optical fiber and silver halide, doesn't look like a bad combo! ;)

6:57 AM  

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