Remembering a Mentor, Photographer Jimmy Moore

| February 15, 2016 | 3 Replies

Today I am remembering a mentor, photographer Jimmy Moore.

Remembering a Mentor, Photographer James Jimmy Moore - Portrait by Kaye Kittrell

James “Jimmy” Moore, Manhattan, 1995 ©Kaye Kittrell

Jimmy was a top New York fashion photographer in the 1960’s and 70’s, who went on to direct commercials. Unbeknownst to me, he had seen me on a “Saturday Night Live” sketch I’d performed in in the 1980’s, and when he was out in Los Angeles in 1992 directing a shampoo commercial (featuring a young Jennifer Connelly), he requested me to be in it. We hit it off immediately, and he fueled my desire to become a good photographer. When I learned his birthday, February 15th, was the day after mine, our friendship was sealed. He mentored my photography and we remained close friends till a couple of months before he died from cancer December 27, 2006. Today I think of him, and his influence.

Remembering a Mentor, Photographer Jimmy Moore - Kaye Kittrell by Jimmy Moore, 1994, West Hollywood, CA

Kaye Kittrell by James Moore, 1994, West Hollywood, CA

If you Google his name and look at images, you will see a distinctive, elegant style of black and white images that stand out among all the other photos that Google search throws in. We photographed each other whenever I would visit New York or he would be working in L.A., and I continued to learn from him. At the tail end of a 100 years of photos shot on film, he taught me darkroom, long distance, over the phone and through correspondence. I built my darkroom in a corner of our garage in 1995. I would send him proof sheets and he would mark the ones that stood out for him. His influence on my creative life is immeasurable and each February 15th, I think of him.

“His exquisite sense of design and elegance and his attention to detail spoke clearly to me. He was a lovely, gentle, spiritual man of extraordinary talent.” – Barbara Bordnick, Photographer,, 2007 

Remembering a Mentor, Photographer James "Jimmy Moore" - Jimmy Moore on beach

Jimmy Moore, Will Rogers State Beach, CA, 1993 ©Kaye Kittrell

Just as the photography world was turned on its head with the advent of digital photography, I was just coming into myself as a decent black and white film photographer, shooting, processing and making silver prints in my darkroom. On Saturdays, I would happily spend eight hours in the dark, listening to John Denver CD’s and “Prairie Home Companion” on the radio. In 2004, Jimmy was already shooting with a digital camera and moved to table top printing of his images from his computer. He was on the cutting edge of this new revolution in photography. He asked me in 2005, “Why do you want to be in the dark working with chemicals?” I bought my first digital camera. Even though I still own several old film cameras, including three Rolleiflex cameras like the one in my portrait above, these days I mostly make quick photos of garden veggies, flowers and bugs and shoot video. I wonder what he would think of “Late Bloomer.”

To all the mentors in the world, who take the time to teach others their crafts, and share their enthusiasm and influence, know that your efforts are valued, and remembered.


I need financial support for Season 5 of “Late Bloomer.” Consider making a donation to keep Late Bloomer blooming! Thanks for your support! ~ Kaye

Help me inspire people to grow their own food and take control over their food security. Your donation of any amount makes “Late Bloomer” possible and available for anyone. CLICK HERE TO DONATE NOW!

Thank you!

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Category: Community, Garden Musings

Comments (3)

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  1. Bill Truran says:

    I was an assistant for Jimmy way back in the mid 70’s. I once rushed into his office to turn over a record on this techniques turntable where he was in flagrante. He didn’t fire me. He was extremely- patient with my as then un-diagnosed super ADD. I still use what he taught me as a commercial photographer today!

    • Well, it is interesting to hear from you, Bill! I have just checked out your website and look forward to getting your book when I get settled. I was aware J. liked the ladies. Fortunately, I was married then and that never came up between us even though he took the most gorgeous photos of me. Oh, if I still looked like that now! I’m glad to know you are alive and well and working. Amazing you wrote this on 9/11. I was in Tennessee looking for a property to buy and visiting my mother in hospice. I do hope you and your team are staying well. Very trying times. I’m starting my whole life over. Starting to pack yesterday, I came across some prints of my young sons and thought, these deserve to be in a show. Well. Wish me luck in Tennessee. I hope to hear from you again. My son was diagnosed with ADD/ADHD and what a time he’s had in life. We all had. It was hard on us all. It’s refreshing to hear your take on creativity and ADD. He is very creative. All the best, Kaye – PS You can probably find a photo J. took of me on my website. I’m sure you will recognize his style.

    • Jade says:

      Hi Bill.
      I was looking for Jimmy Moore and sad to hear he has transitioned. Hoping that he is in peace.
      I once took tai chi lessons with him and a few others at his studio in the late 70’s. Not sure if you were there but I’m trying to find out the name of our tai chi teacher. I remember an assistant named Tom who was there at the time but you’re my only lead at this point. Can you help me? Thank you

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