Behind the lens is a compilation of photo’s made while I was a staff photographer for the New York Post (1954-1993). I was also named night photo assignment editor in the mid 1980’s. Prior to coming to the Post I was a staff photographer with the NYU Square Journal and had picture’s Published in Life Magazine as well as in the 13 New York City paper’s.
Among many awards for my photos were from The New York Times, The New York Press Photographers Assoc., the New York City Police Benevolent Assoc. and the Uniformed Firefighters Assoc and others. In addition I have had my work published in LIFE, TIME and NEWSWEEK magazines and specialty publications such as aviation and medical journals. I was also the photo editor for HER NY. during my last few years at the post, I was the photo assignment editor.Winner of the 2013 Louis Liotta Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Jerry Engel at the New York Press Photographer’s Association awards ceremony on August 15th 2013. the award is named after Louis Liotta, famed and multi award winning New York Post photographer and awarded every year to a news photographer who has demonstrated his/her commitment to news photography over the years. the award reads “Awarded for a lifetime of service to his fellow photographers as an officer,trustees and Police and Fire representative for the NYPPA”.This award was especially meaningful as Louie was not only my co-worker at the Post but was my teacher and mentor when I first joined the Post staff.
In 1981 I was honored by the Retired Detectives Association Of the New York City Police Dept and made a honorary detective.
I also received commendations from the NYPD for assisting cops in making arrests ranging from kidnapping to shootings.
But, most of all I am proud to be a member of the hardest working press photographers in the country and being a member of the oldest press photographer’s association, The New York Press Photographer’s Assoc. I served for many years as a member of the Board of Directors. I also held office as Secretary and Treasurer. Today I still serve as the Chairman of the Credentials and Police/Press Relations Committee.
I started my career using a 4×5 Speed Graphic camera. Shortly thereafter we were using the Rollie for several years. The Nikons (better known at SLR’s) became the camera of choice for the press photographer. In the last few years the digital camera’s appeared and are now the camera of choice in the news business. This allows the photographer to make his pictures and within minutes are in the hands of the picture editors. No more darkroom work is needed.
There has been change’s in news photography today. freelancer’s are replacing staff people. Laptops are replacing the darkroom. Cell phones and Blackberry’s have replaced the walkie talkies. The one thing that can never be changed is the photographer’s eye that freezes the moment. Not all these changes are for the better. economics have played a big part of these changes. News organizations found that they can get these pictures for a lot less by dealing with freelancers. That means no big payouts for personnel and equipment. However ,they lose out when it comes to loyalty and dedication.
As a press photographer in New York City I had the pleasure of working with some of the best news photographers and editors in the country. I owe a debt of gratitude to these guy’s who taught me well. Among them, Louis Liotta, Barney Stein. Andy Lopez (UPI), John Lent(AP), Neil Boenzi(NYTimes), Nat Fein(Herald Tribune) ,Vic DeLucia (NY Journal American, Post and ny times) and Frank Leonardo (NY Post). I would have to include all the photogs from the NY Daily News as well. A special thanks to Kodak’s ambassador to the working press photographers, Mr John Faber and Nikon’s First Lady, Marci Robbins.
When it comes to getting some of these spot news picture’s I would like to acknowledge those who have passed on, retired or still on the job. From the NYPD, Lt. Richie Young (SOD), Lt. Frank Boltz (Hostage Negotiating Sqd), Lt. Phil Panzerella (Queens Homicide & Cold Case Sqd), Dep. Comm Ellie Fleisher (DCPI), Dep.Comm Frank McLoughlin (DCPI), Insp.Bob Burke (DCPI), Sgt Pete Sweeny (DCPI), Sgt Ed Burns (DCPI), Lt. Ken O’Neil (Bomb Sqd), Lt. Eugene Whyte (DCPI) and Det. Mindy Diaz (DCPI). From the FBI, John Malone, Tom Sheer, Jim Fox, and Jim Kallstram. From the Secret Service, Al Whitaker,Al Wong,and Jim Heavey and John Libonati. From the Port Authority Police, Bob Napolatano, Lt. Bernie Greiber, (Inspector) Ralph Cambariotti and Tom McKinney. I apologize to all those I may have forgotten but they have my thanks and respect as well.
Lastly I would like to thank all the great editors and writers at the Post for pushing me in the right direction. Among those editors who deserve thanks were Paul Sann,Ike Gellis, Jim Graham, Johnny Bott, Stan Opotowski. and Larry Nathansn. Writer’s like Nora Efron, Helen Dudar and Pete Hamil. Ted Poston ( Special Advisor To Former President FDR ) Judith Michaelson (who left the Post for the LA Times) and James Wechler for devoting his column on July 28,1966,”of Frank Sinatra and Jerry Engel”. Also Marty Burden and Earl Wilson who supplied me with the whereabouts of the big name celebs who were not always willing to be photographed.
Jimmy Cannon,Al Buck, Maury Allen, Milton Gross along with Sid Friedlander taught me about sport’s coverage. .Artie Rosenfeld and Carl Pelleck were the two guy’s who brought me into the cop world and showed me the art of “one hand wash’s the other”. Thank’s to those two guys I still have a lot of friends and contacts in the various law enforcement agencies. Nothing can be more exciting then covering cop news.
I have also had the privilege of being in the company of Presidents Kings, Queens and others. I have been photographed with them by either their official photographer’s or my fellow photographers.
When you glance over your newspaper take a look at the credit lines under the photos and you just might see the names of the next group of great news photographers.
I hope that you will like these pictures and I plan on showing you more as time goes by.
On a personal note, I would like to dedicate this new website in memory of my son, David Engel who passed away on Sept.6th 2005 at his home in Miami Fla.. David liked to “chase” news stories with me whenever he came home for a visit. I would also like to thank my late wife Diane for putting up with all the cancelled dinner’s and other events caused by the job, Diane passed away in Feb 2007.
I would be remiss in not thanking Frank Madison for making this website possible. He was a great friend to David both at the Univ of Miami where he was a member of the Championship Football Team and a Business Partner. Now, he’s not only a friend but part of an extended family.