My photo
... is a freelance photographer working in Middle Georgia

Monday, June 9, 2008

That First Soccer Game

This picture is from the first soccer game I ever shot. This was back in the mid 1970's when the game was really rare. I had gone to an event
in Atlanta and was talking to one of my mentors, Billy Downs,a photographer for the Atlanta Constitution. Billy asked if I ever
photographed Mercer University soccer. I told him I didn't
even know the school had a team. We covered their basketball and
baseball regularly but soccer? He said it made for some great images.

I was really blessed early in my career to be taken under the wings of
several more experienced and realy talented photojournalists. Billy, AP photographers Joe Holloway and Charlie Kelly, Russ Yoder of UPI. I knew to listen when they gave advice.

Billy said I should shoot soccer, so I came back to Macon and called Mercer. One home game left and I covered it. I talked the sports department into running a photo.

The photo was entered in the annual AP Georgia photo contest and won first place black and white action. I went to the awards banquet and met Billy as I entered the room where the winning entries were displayed.He didn't crack and smile, just walked past and said "I see you shot some Mercer soccer,you son of a bitch."

Those guys impressed me with the need to share what we older guys have learned with the younger folks coming along behind us. They were highly competitive but never jealous of what anyone else did, just had a passion for this craft of ours and wanted to give something back.

They all long ago retired, Billy, Russ and Joe have passed away. I hope
they would approve of the photojournalist I have become. Even more importantly, I hope I have given back enough to make you guys proud.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I knew those guys, they were just the best. Joe in particular was always kind to me even though I was as green a photographer as there ever has been. He used to cal me 'Matchsticks' because I was so skinny. If you watched Joe work at an event you could see him get the best shot-he'd just always get it. I learned a lot watching Joe Holloway. I remember Charlie's famous comment: "I was just minding my own business when suddenly there I was, witness to history". This was a joke. They were rare men, they were seasoned enough to be mentors to a lot of young photographers without ever making a big deal of it. I miss them a lot. Thank you for writing about them.
Ann States

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