S P OT L I G H T
A Collection of Stories
Anthem photographer David Spindel reflects on his career By Laura Latzko For David Spindel, being a professional photographer has meant looking at the world with a special eye and capturing it on film for others to see. The world-renowned photographer, who is originally from New York but now lives in Anthem, has a natural gift that has allowed him the chance to work with famous actors and musicians and baseball greats. Spindel says although anyone can own a camera, being a photographer is more than that. “A good photographer has an eye. They see the world differently,” Spindel says. He is best known for photographing John Lennon and Yoko Ono during one of the “Double Fantasy” recording sessions. His photographs were reproduced for the John Lennon “Acoustic” CD, along with books, documentaries, CDs and posters. He has also developed posters and limited-edition projects for baseball greats such as Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Willie Mays, Phil Rizzuto, Mickey Mantle and Duke Snider. Spindel’s images have appeared on book and CD covers, movie posters, mouse pads, coffee mugs, advertisements, videos, Tshirts and porcelain plates. Spindel has always tried to follow his own path and do what he thought was right, instead of what everyone else was doing. When he was growing up, he never thought of photography as a career. His mother was initially against him becoming a photographer because she thought he would end up taking pictures at weddings and bar mitzvahs. It started out as a hobby and has grown into so much more. David’s love of the art form has never waned throughout his career and has often kept him up working late into the night and early morning. “I tell people I’ve been paid to do my hob-
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by all of these years. I’ve never considered it work,” Spindel says. Spindel has been living in 85086 with his wife Barbara for the last 15 years. Spindel is “retired” but continues to work out of his Anthem office, which is filled with photos, memorabilia and letters from throughout his career. He has recently been putting together a collection of stories from his time as a photographer, which he plans to call “Just a Kid in the Candy Store of Life: Celebrated Stories from My Professional Photographic Career.” During his time as a photographer, building relationships has been important to him. Whenever he has photographed anyone, he has always sat down and talked with them before the sessions. He has always preferred to photograph subjects in his studio. “Everyone’s unique in their own way, and I don’t take pictures like I’m a paparazzi photographer. I wanted to get them in a controlled environment in my studio and bring out the quality of who they are,” Spindel says. He has always had the same quirky sense of humor and unique way of looking at the world. Barbara has had the chance to see up close his dedication to his craft. Living with someone who is so focused on his work has come with its challenges. “David is a genius,” she says. “They think differently, and they don’t think about eating. They have a tunnel vision. When they have a creation coming into their head, it just tunnels to that. Everything else is out of the picture. I had to bring him back into reality.” He has been married to Barbara for nearly 55 years, and the two have a son and daughter together.
Throughout his career, Barbara has been his biggest supporter and has taken on roles such as videographer. She has helped him with his photography, as he is partially color blind. She often went to photo shoots with Spindel and met with the celebrities. “We have been in many places that many people would love to be. For us, it just came naturally. These people were just very natural with us,” she says. When their children were little, Spindel worked long hours, and she often had to take on double duty at home. Spindel tried to make it to his children’s sports games and events, but he would go back to work afterwards. When he was driving back home late at night, he would talk with his wife and children via CB radios. Spindel’s handle was Shutter Bug; Barbara’s, Lady Bug and his children’s, Pink Pussycat and Hot Sticks. Moving to Arizona was a big change of pace for David and Barbara. Before relocating, they sold their 23-room house in New York, which had an arcade, movie theater, a library, a casino and a baseball memorabilia room. The two moved to Arizona on a recommendation from his doctor. Spindel suffers from depression, and his doctor and wife thought Arizona would make a better environment for him. The couple also had family living out here. Spindel has battled depression throughout his life. There have been times when he has been going through bouts of depression that he hasn’t been able to work or even function. Barbara has been there during those moments to take care of him. Despite dealing with this illness, Spindel has built a long-lasting career, filled with memories that he cherishes. Spindel grew up in Brooklyn with an