Archive for October, 2013

This is one of the smartest, nicest, kindest people I know, posing with her husband Joel. One of the pleasures of my professional world is the wonderful colleagues I get to spend time with. Many of them I have known for decades, and I'm never disappointed in their generosity and friendship. Whenever I reach out one of them is always there providing support, counsel and guidance.

My buddy Joel Sartore, grinning here because as always I bought lunch, is a brilliant and committed photographer and environmentalist. In addition to being one of the best and brightest photographers working today, he is an incredibly funny man. His massive ongoing project, The Photo Ark, is a display not only of his genius, but also his dedication.

A Life magazine writer, Richard Woodley, called me today to ask some questions, and we talked and talked. His books and movies are part of our national collective conscience. But what fascinated me was listening to him talk about the magazine he wrote for during the decade of the 1960s. It was a different time in print journalism. Globe trotting photographers and writers brought us stories with panache, adventure, and style. Fueled by seemingly endless budgets, a loving and devoted readership and an enthusiasm for getting it perfect, every time. If it needed to be covered, they were there in force. For those of you too young to remember, Life magazine was once the gold standard among journalistic publications. I really should have gotten moving and cut the call short, what with needing to pack for a five day road trip to do five portrait shoots -- including one for a magazine cover and two unrelated new video projects. A trip that would require twelve cases of gear to get through the different setups. We spoke for an hour and it was delightful. He called to ask about an old friend of ours, the great Bill Epperidge who passed last week. But we talked about all kinds of things, as one story about Bill spun off into another. I learned a lot, shared some, and did I mention, just had a great time. Storytelling, done just right, is a huge treat.

A few weeks ago, I was at Kent State participating as a panelist for the Media Ethics Workshop they do in combination with the Poynter Institute. Dave LaBelle is a professor at KSU and a longtime friend. We left his office in the journalism school and started up the stairs. I saw the light, borrowed his camera to make a handful of frames of him before giving his camera back.

Dave's wife, Erin, posted it to Facebook and Don Winslow saw it. An hour later it was on the cover of News Photographer Magazine.

I've been an NPPA member since college, and one of the major draws is that incredible magazine. LaBelle has been a hero of mine since I was a student at the University of Kansas and heard him speak. One of the first times I thought about the power of photojournalism  was reading The Kent State report by James Michener, where he wrote about the Pulitzer Prize winning image taken with a borrowed camera, by a 20-year-old journalism student named John Paul Filo just steps from the Kent State journalism school. As I did with LaBelle, I met Filo when I was a student at KU. John was working for the AP in Kansas City. He was later one of my editors at SI. We've been friends for many years. This was a nice tidy circle. I made a picture of a friend, in a place that started my photographic recognition -- although I didn't really understand that at the time -- and another friend saw it and put it on the cover of a publication that has been integral to my understanding of my profession.

Strange circles.

My life is a series of free association experiences.
Working for Sports illustrated has put me in position to live on the edge of  some amazing scenes.  I get to drift, seemingly aimlessly but actually with great purpose, from one to the next.
Recording not simply sport, but hopefully the vital cross section of game and culture.
At the University of Georgia, one of the great traditions is the singing of the. Battle Hymn of the Republic.  Listening to the huge red clad crowd singing, following the lead of the lone trumpeter I was taken to another game in a far away land.
20 years virtually earlier to the day I was covering the Australian Rules Grand Final at the Melbourne Cricket Club listening to a huge crowd of Aussies singing along with Noel Watson as he saluted the assemblage with Waltzing Matilda.
Both songs, written for different purposes, sung with gusto, in giant stadiums decades and thousands of miles apart.... Connecting the dots in my memory, with many stops in never forgotten places, all the same, all connected, all incredibly unique.
The music, and the road, roll on.


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