Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Thank you, Rich Clarkson
At the ripe old age of 20 I attended a Rich Clarkson photography workshop in 1994. Along with some of the most prominent sports shooters in the country, Mr. Clarkson brought his Sports Illustrated workshop to the U.S. Olympic Festival in St. Louis, just 20 miles from my hometown. This meant that my family could afford to send me to the workshop for a week, where I rubbed elbows and learned from Mr. Clarkson and many established professional photographers. I remember Dave Black explaining how to photograph gymnastics. Patrick Murphy-Racey taught me to shoot into the sun to create depth while we photographed field hockey. I stood next to Walter Iooss in a group photo and ate lunch with Bill Eppridge and John McDonough. It was an amazing experience working alongside these world-class photographers and working with 600 and 800mm lenses photographing unique sports I’d never shot before (and in some cases since). It was an opportunity I could not have had any other way, and for that I’m indebted to Rich Clarkson and his workshop. It turns out that countless other photographers—many more renowned than I—also owe Mr. Clarkson a debt of thanks. He’s had a tremendous influence over professional photojournalism for a few decades, and that’s quite a feat in itself. NPR recently put together a slideshow and story about him—The Man Behind The Men Behind The Cameras—and it shows just how influential Mr. Clarkson is. He continues to wield his cameras and his influence through a series of ongoing workshops not unlike the one I was fortunate to attend long ago. For information on how you too can learn from Mr. Clarkson and his talented photographic partners, check out the Rich Clarkson and Associates web site. And thanks again, Mr. Clarkson. I learned a lot about photography that I still put to use today.