The Digital Journalist has launched a photo blog modeled after The Big Picture. Well done. I’ve followed this site on and off for years but always found it too difficult to navigate through to find the photography, which is shot by top-notch photojournalists and is amazing. Nice to see the photography put front and center. Case in point: this wonderful selection of sports photos by Walter Iooss Jr., punctuated by stories of the athletes he was photographing (Tiger Woods, Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, etc.). Here’s Iooss’ account of photographing Jordan at the 1988 dunk contest:
The problem with shooting the NBA slam-dunk contest was that you never knew how the players were going to dunk, especially Jordan. In 1997 [sic, it was actually 1987] he had twirled and dunked with his back to me. But by this time I knew him a little better. As he sat in the stands three hours before the contest, I said, “Michael, can you tell me which way you’re going to go, so I can move and get your face in the picture?” He looked at me as if I were crazy but then said, “Sure. Before I go out to dunk I’ll put my index finger on my knee and point which way I’m going.” I said, “You’re going to remember that?” And he said, “Sure.” So later, when they announced his name, I looked over to him on the bench and there was his finger pointing left. I got up and moved to the right side of the basket so I could see his face. He went left every time he dunked. On his last two dunks he ran the length of the court, took off from the foul line and slammed the ball through. On the next-to-last one he landed in my lap. On the last one I set up in the same spot. He looked at me as if to say, “Go left a little, give me some room this time.” And that was it, the picture was made: 1000th of a second frozen in time.
BTW, I’ve heard that The Big Picture has spawned a number of copycats around the web, including this one from the WSJ.