ASMP — American Society of Media Photographers

JAY MYSELF – A Film By Stephen Wilkes


Image: Stephen Wilkes


Editor’s Note: JAY MYSELF is a documentary film about an ASMP Member, Jay Maisel, that was created and directed by another ASMP Member, Stephen Wilkes. Please see information where you can attend a screening of the film on November 11th and 13th.

Brief Synopsis of the Film

Jay Myself is a documentary feature about renowned photographer and artist, Jay Maisel, who, in  February 2015 after 48 years, begrudgingly sold his home; the 35,000 square‐foot, 100‐year‐old  landmark building in Manhattan known simply as “The Bank.” The film documents Jay’s monumental  move through the eyes of filmmaker and Jay’s protege, noted artist and photographer Stephen Wilkes. It  is through this inmate lens that the viewer is taken on a remarkable journey through Jay’s life as an  artist, mentor and man; a man grappling with me, life, change, and the end of an era in New York City.

Stephen Wilkes’ Director Statement    

My life’s passion for photography was discovered at a young age. During my last year of high school I  came across the iconic Time/Life books on photography, and it was through a volume entitled “Color”  that I first saw the work of Jay Maisel. I remember flipping through the pages and every me I stopped  on an image that struck me, the photographer’s credit remained the same, “Photograph by Jay Maisel.”

Jay’s pictures spoke to me. I knew that I wanted to be this master photographer’s apprentice. In my  junior year of college I mustered up the courage to call Mr. Maisel’s studio to ask if he would look at my  work. Jay answered the phone (a rare occurrence), and he agreed to look at my portfolio. He asked me to  leave a piece of paper in the portfolio so he could give me his comments. I went to his studio the next  day, 190 Bowery, the old Bank of Germain building. The paper in my portfolio read, “TERRIFIC!, very wide  range, I almost stole a few and there are some I don’t even understand yet. Please keep working and  leave me your phone number…. Jay.” I interned for him that summer, spending every day in “The Bank,”  as it came to be known. So began a mentorship that became a 38‐year friendship.


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