IC Rapoport, the photographer that took 29 pictures of Joseph Pilates in 1961, came to the studio to show us his amazing photos. Here is an article Written by Margie Allman who interviewed Chuck about his experience with Joseph Pilates:

"The majority of the well-known photographs of Joe Pilates were taken by one guy –I.C. Rapoport – in one day in October of 1961.  One day in November, 2011, we had the privilege of meeting this wonderful man, who shared with us his Day with Joseph Pilates.

Chuck had been paying his dues at Sports Illustrated, not photographing sports so much as simply the people playing the, er, sports.  First, he was sent to shoot the kids in a marble-shooting championship, preserving the grimaces on their faces as they got down near the ground to aim forever in time.  Then, he was sent to the soapbox races to shoot the parental interactions with the competitors (their children) prior to race start.

Then, one week before Irwin Charles Rapoport, 24, was scheduled to ship out to Berlin by draft into the U.S. Army, that he got the call to meet our icon, Joe.

The assignment was to shoot the pics for an article on Joe’s Gymnasium that someone else was writing, entitled, You’ve Got to Be like an Animal.  Chuck was told to make Joe look like a wild animal.  It turned out to be an easy task.

Joe was 80 in 1961.  He greeted Chuck in his uniform de rigueur - Jantzen skivvies and ballet shoes – bare-chested, cigar in hand, and a puff of smoke in Chuck’s face.  He had a firm handshake, despite the missing tip of a finger on his right hand.  When Chuck looked at the man behind the smoke, he noticed the glass eye.  Yes, yes indeed, Chuck believed he could complete his mission.

For the session, Joe posed with students who were advanced enough to be using the equipment on their own and made it look like he was teaching beginners.

“He was a nice enough guy to me,” remembers Chuck, “but not to his students.”

“Gloria, what are you thinking about?” Joe yelled across the room in his German- accented English.

“What are you doing now?  Do it right or I will throw you out!”

When they broke for lunch, Joe went home, across the hall, to have lunch with his wife, Clara, who remained unheard of and unseen the entire day.  Sometime later, he emerged looking spiffed-up.  He had been re-dressed in what appeared to be his Pilates Best – the long-sleeved, white turtleneck and matching white Jantzen skivvies that are seen in the second-half of the day’s photo shoot.

It was agreed that there should be a photo of Chuck being taught by Joe that day.  So, Chuck climbed on the Bednasium in his trousers and dress shirt, and Joe put him in position for the 100’s with the roll-down bar.  A photo was taken.

But, no, that just wasn’t quite right.  When one came to exercise at Joe’s, the practice for men was to don a pair of the Jantzen skivvies, a plethora of which were kept in a box in the shower room.  Clean? Of course!  They were washed daily.  Chuck was sent to change clothes.

And then, that photo of the guy in glasses, doing the 100’s on the Bednasium, with Joe standing over him, was captured.  Incidentally, Chuck did not have to endure any of the infamous ‘shower treatment’ – where Joe would come in, pull back the shower curtain, grab his rough scrub brush that he kept in there and scrub you to show you how to clean yourself properly.

I wondered if Chuck had any clue as to how influential Joe would be to future generations.  He says no, he never thought about that day, or that guy, again.  Well, not until 1999, when his wife had her ‘exercise instructor’ come to their house with her floor-model Reformer knock-off.  He stopped by to meet the instructor and see what they were up to.  And he saw the machine.

“Joseph Pilates,” he said after several moments, and went to dig up those old photographs.

Lucky us."

If you are interested in purchasing any of these fabulous photos, please go to


http://rapo.com/icrgallery/gallery_frames.htm, then click on Gallery 1, then Gallery 2.  You can see 3 of Chucks pictures on our website in the history section. In fact, the 3rd picture, the one with the young man and the glasses is I.C. Rapoport himself!