Rabbi Mishael Prays at the Moses Synagogue , Mbakle Uganda 2002
"When Jocelyne first opened the Sipa office in New York it was being run out of her cluttered apartment on the Upper East Side. I made my first portfolio pilgrimage to NYC from Boston to show her my work. She looked at the political stuff and threw it on the floor. Same for the scenics. Same for the portraits. She then said, "what do you have that you are passionate about?" I took out a box of work prints on dissidents and religion in the (bad old) USSR and she got totally animated and full of excitement, "This is what I want to see! Give me more stories like this!"
At the time Sipa was looking for off-beat Americana stories, which I was into - The World's Largest Pancake, The Rotten Sneaker Contest, Overweight Skiing, Male Strippers, etc. For my first shoot I called her to pitch a story on the approaching 30th anniversary of the death of James Dean - the ceremony and parade to his graveside in Fairmont, Indiana. I had shoots set up with the Aunt that raised him and with Martin Sheen who was going to lead the parade that day. At this point (1985) she hadn't ventured far out of Manhattan and she said, "That's sounds like a good story. Is Indiana pretty close to Boston?" "Sure, its not too far," I answered, and she replied, "Well, what are you waiting for - get to the airport!" And that was the start of 20 years of friendship."