Melchior DiGiacomo has Passed

by | Mar 29, 2024 | Uncategorized

Editor’s note: ASMP Life Member Melchior DiGiacomo joined ASMP on March 1, 1974.

Cross-posted from

For over six decades, Melchior “Mel” Di Giacomo has captured moments through his camera, spurred by a friendly competition with his best friend. That challenge ignited a passion which would become the cornerstone of his life’s journey, as Mel left his role at CBS News, where he contributed to iconic programs such as the Ed Sullivan Show and 60 Minutes. His camera never left his side. Mel often said,

“Everything I do is street photography,” but the breadth of his vision transcended the narrow confines of alleyways he called his office, resonating across continents and cultures. His portfolio has adorned the covers of prestigious magazines and been exhibited within the hallowed halls of renowned museums worldwide. He’s photographed princes and presidents, athletes and activists, capturing the world in all its joy and despair. With each click of the shutter, Mel possessed an uncanny alchemy, transforming fleeting instants into timeless vignettes that serve as windows into the psyche of the human experience.

Born on September 7, 1938, in Tuckahoe, NY, he peacefully passed away on Sunday, March 24th, 2024, in New Jersey. Mel was recognized early as a great talent. He left New Jersey and New York for London to begin his photographic endeavors. His work often appeared on the cover and inside the British Journal of Photography. This led to Mel’s photography being exhibited at the House of Commons in London, which was arranged by a Member of Parliament who was instrumental in helping Russian Jews leave Moscow.

After returning to the States, Mel’s career as a sports photographer began to flourish. Beginning at Sports Illustrated, he also covered events for CBS Sports, ABC Sports, and the National Hockey League (NHL). These events included the Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, World Series, Olympics, and The Masters. Mel documented the pantheon of sporting greats — from Arthur Ashe to Roger Federer, from Dr. J (ABA) to LeBron James (NBA), from Ali to Phelps, from Navratilova to Serena. He also captured the ‘great one’ Wayne Gretzky to Phil Esposito during the legendary 1972 Summit Series between Canada and Russia, a series that forever altered the landscape of hockey. Tennis enthusiasts would often find Mel clad in his trademark Hawaiian shirt, courtside at the US Open for an astonishing 50 years, a feat that earned him a revered place in the Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame (Class of ’15) as its sole photography honoree. Tennis Week magazine named Mel the ‘Photographer of the Year’ not once, but twice. His legacy graces the pages of twenty-five sports books, including seminal works like ‘Tennis, a Game of Motion’, ’The Ice Men’, ’The Pro Game: The World of Professional Basketball’ by Bob Ryan, and ‘Johnny Bench: Catching and Power Hitting’.

Mel was concurrently making strides as a distinguished photojournalist. His lens captured exclusive moments such as a memorable photoshoot with President George H. Bush and polo matches featuring a young Prince Charles. Mel’s photographs have appeared on over twenty Newsweek covers. He has also contributed to countless publications such as The New York Times, Life Magazine, People Magazine, and Stern (Germany). Mel crafted several iconic series throughout his illustrious career, including the Twin Towers from the Jersey City Street Life Perspective and Coney Island’s Mermaid Parade. Mel’s magnum opus, Tumperbee, a nickname affectionately given to Mel by the local villagers, is a collection of photographs taken in the small Antiguan village of Old Road over a span of thirty-five years. It serves as a sociological record of the evolution of their lives on the island as the modern world crept in.

Mel’s images found their forever home in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. His artistry has adorned numerous galleries worldwide — from The West London Gallery to The Moscow Gallery of Fine Art, and even closer to his heart and home, The Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey. In 2023, Mel received a prestigious NJ Arts Fellowship.

Mel was a proud first-generation Italian (quick to clarify his Sicilian heritage), yet his gallery’s soundtrack danced to the beat of Bluegrass. He loved Linguini with White Clam Sauce, and flavored conversations with quotes from Caravaggio to Laurel & Hardy, effortlessly blending humor, wit and nostalgia. While Mel’s photography predominantly captured the world in black & white, his personality was a colorful kaleidoscope of warmth, humor, and brilliance — painting the world in hues of joy, radiance, and boundless charm.

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Street Photography with Mel DiGiacomo (