Remembering a Mentor, Photographer Jimmy Moore

| February 15, 2016 | Reply

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

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Category: Community, Garden Musings

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