David Spindel is a transplanted New Yorker who’s getting so used to Arizona that he can practically pass for a native. That is until he opens his mouth. Then it’s clear he’s a New Yawker.
And if there were any doubt, one only needs to look back at many of the incredible collages of cards and memorabilia from the likes of Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and a battalion of other baseball greats. Spindel’s iconic work is found in private collections and museums across the country, a testimony to a brilliant, creative mind that has literally invented its own genre in the world of photography, sports and beyond.
Serious hobbyists and baseball fans will instantly recognize his remarkable work, a staggering array of tributes to the greats of the games by way of artfully arranging and photographing their memorabilia. It’s hard to imagine any single-player collector who doesn’t own a print from Spindel. Hell, they would be useful as checklists of a sort as well, since many of the original layouts can include hundreds of pieces related to that specific player of team (think Yankees, Bums, Cubs and more).
If you go to his gallery on his website: www.spindelvisions.com, you could end up staying for a good deal longer than you might have planned. Even if you confine yourself simply to his baseball lineup (now a fraction of his overall inventory), you’re talking about 150 or more prints of some of the most stunning still-life photography imaginable.
Not surprisingly, this is the kind of stuff of magazine and book covers, of which he can claim hundreds. His absolutely unique portraiture of everybody from John Lennon, George Burns and a host of Hollywood and entertainment celebrities to Yogi, Mickey, Babe, Joe, Henry, Tom Seaver and dozens more has left Spindel rubbing elbows with the giants of American culture over the last 50-plus years, and he’s got the photos to prove it. Spindel is 67 and still going strong, vowing never to retire despite living in the arid Arizona badlands in Anthem, not far from Scottsdale. He concedes that New York was getting to be too much for him
“I’ll never retire,” said Spindel in a phone interview recently. “When I first moved out here from New York I was so depressed. What will I do, photograph cactus?”
Spindel will answer that question and talk about his unique relationship with Joe DiMaggio in tomorrow’s blog.