SNAPSHOTS OF FRED
Nice job on Fred's obit [Tom Robbins's 'Fred W. McDarrah, 19262007,' November 7]. I loved the guy, ran into him often on news stories, and always loved his pictures. He had a way of making any news or feature shot into a portrait, with the subject looking dead-on into the camera and out of the front page of the Voiceyou never needed to check the credit line to see who made the shot. And he was a terrific person, too, a wonderful fit for the Voice. I hope he had a great retirement. I miss him.
Retired Daily News reporter
Jersey City, New Jersey
MCDARRAH THE MENTOR
Fred W. McDarrah gave me my start in photography, and he remained a friend right up until the end. Fred gave me a Village Voice internship in late 1983, and years later, his wife Gloria introduced me to an editor, which led to a gig producing images for a travel guidebook series, a dream come true for me at the time. The Voice internship and later assignments through 1987 gave me a front-row seat to life in NYC. Fiercely protective of the rights of the photographer, Fred understood the value of his images, and he wanted to be paid. I think his work is not as well known because he considered most publishing offers too cheapoutside of his own long list of booksso he held his images in his archive. The things he taught me about being a book author remain valuable today. I have one of his quotes tacked up in my studio because it made me laugh: "A style can be very effective provided it is in keeping with what is going on. I have a style. My style is simple; I stand in front of something and I take the pictureit comes out or it doesn't." Thanks, Fred. I would have been a very different person without you.
WHEN PHOTOS RULED THE WORLD
Fred W. McDarrah was the most wonderful pain-in-the-ass I've ever worked with. When I was hired as the paper's art director in 1976, Fred faced the unprecedented loss of his total control over the paper's visual identity. We had more than one run-in over assignments. I had my own fights with editors, trying to get enough goddamn space on the page to display a great photo. Fred's productive solution to his loss of authority was his famous "intern program" for younger photographers, which unleashed more than one major talent. By the mid-'80s, we had created a tradition of excellence in photojournalism, and Fred's paparazzi-extraordinaire talent was a crucial element in the mix. This Voice, back in the day, was extremely influential in that respect; it could be purely visual journalism, too. But no more. It is, as Sylvia Plachy said to me recently, all "bits and pieces." Photojournalism has devolved; it's now "all paparazzi, all the time"as James Hamilton has also remarked. Thanks to the Net especially, we are now a nation only interested in viewing and publishing illegible, postage-stamp-size cell-phone jpegs. Fred McDarrah was part of an older tradition. All those who worked with us were authentic photojournalists, artists whose complex and ambiguous reactions to events and personalities seem to be sorely lacking in today's media swirl.
Santa Barbara, California
THE KIDS'LL BE ALL RIGHT, ROB
Re Lynn Yaeger's column, 'All Sold Out at CBGB' [November 7]: It is hard to believe that what seems like yesterday was actually 30 years ago. I was a 17-year-old college freshman in 1976'77 and was beckoned to NYC by a former bandmate from high school with tales of weird but great bands on the Bowery. Weekends were spent bouncing from Max's and CBGB to Dan Lynch, the Kiev Diner, and other downtown spots whose names I can't remember. We didn't know at the time that we were part of music history; we just dug the edgy simplicity of the music, the cheap beer, and the never-enforced drinking age of 18. It's hard to believe that all these places are gone, but it's also hard to believe that I'm a 48-year-old suburban businessman with a wife, two teenagers, and a big mortgage. Time rolls on, and a lot of us have, by necessity, sold out along the way. I am sure that somewhere out there is a 21st-century CBGB rising from the ashes. I hope my kids find their way there. Rest in peace, CBGB, Dan Lynch, and, most of all, the Kiev.
WE NOTICED THAT TOO
I enjoyed Wayne Barrett's 'No Skeletons in My Closet' [October 31], though I was somewhat surprised to open up The New York Times that Saturday morning and find an article on Bernard Kerik and his association with Rudy Giuliani that was pretty much a copy of the second half of Mr. Barrett's piece. The Times version was "objective" on certain points when describing Mr. Giuliani's judgment and Mr. Kerik's crimes, but it was basically the same. Shouldn't Mr. Barrett have gotten some recognition or mention in the article, which appeared several days after his Voice cover story? It was basically a copy with some re-edits.
THAT WAS NO TURK, BOB
In the article 'Bleaker Street' [October 9], Lynn Yaeger writes: "At the Steve Madden store, [Voice writer Robert] Sietsema lapses into full-blown nostalgia. 'This was a bodega run by Turks! They sold hundreds of different kinds of beer! They made sandwiches in a really weird space in the back of the store!' " The "bodega" in question is Hercules Fancy Grocery, now and for the last eight years located at 27? Morton Street (corner of Seventh Avenue South). The "Turk" is Hercules Dimitratos, the Grecian purveyor of the best small craft/import beer-and-ale shop in all of NYC. This is a jewel in my old neighborhood. Cheers!
HIT OR MYTH
Re LD Beghtol's review of Control, "Ian Curtis Biopic Gets Manchester Right" [October 9]: What this writer fails to see is the elevation of the rock 'n' roll biopic. Obviously, Beghtol is a "hardcore" know-it-all Joy Division fan who either feels that hallowed ground has been trodden upon or is just pissed that someone tackled the romantic yet childlike Curtis, who wasn't equipped to deal with the realities of marriage, child-rearing, and the consequences of pop-star martyrdom (not to mention the added joy of epileptic seizures). For someone who isn't absorbed by the myth of Joy Division/Ian Curtis/New Order, Control came off as sensitive, beautifully shot (real eye candy), and painfully genuine.
Florham Park, New Jersey
Due to a production error, an early unedited version of a story, scheduled for publication in January in The Village Voice Education Supplement, was inadvertently posted on villagevoice.com. We have removed the story from the site and regret the error.
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