Category: Final Four

From the 60th NCAA® Final Four®

April 6, 2015

Tonight is when March Madness comes to an end as either Wisconsin or Duke will end up on top in the final Championship game. And Rich Clarkson will be there at the corner of the sidelines one last time photographing just as he did the 59 times before at the Final Four. And although, his Final Four seat will be filled next year with another photojournalist his work still continues as he still runs Clarkson Creative. His contributions still find its way in large-scale projects including book publishing, exhibition projects, as well as supporting the creative staff beneath him. In addition, the staff is heavily involved in commercial photography, video production and photography education.

Take a look at some of the pictures below at his journey through the 2015 Indianapolis Final Four where we was honored by the Basketball Writers’ Association (USBWA) for a Lifetime Achievement Award as well as honored at the Final Four games this past Saturday.


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Clarkson continuously honored on Final Four lead-up

April 2, 2015

(Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)

(Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)

If you haven’t heard the story yet, you may be living underneath a rock. The buildup of March Madness will reach its apex this weekend as the Final Four teams compete for the NCAA Championship title that will be played on Monday. And the man who will be sitting on the floorboards, just as he has for 59 other Final Fours, will be photographing the game for his final team.

You heard it right! Rich Clarkson has photographed more NCAA Final Fours than anyone in history as he will leave his mark at an impressive 60 years. Over the years, he has grown the coverage that formed from Sports Illustrated into his own company, Clarkson Creative. Clarkson Creative does business as NCAA Photos and has been covering all of the collegiate championships since Fall of 1994.

To give you more insight into his story, I will leave that to the professionals. The stories below are written by those that are inspired by his story of photojournalism and the legacy he has left for the entire industry that we have today. Once you meet the legendary Rich Clarkson, he can’t help but share with you some amazing stories from all his years in the biz — these following stories captured just a few…

His work will continue outside of the NCAA Final Four with his founding company, Clarkson Creative, that run and manage clients with a variety of inventive work.

NCAA Feature: Photo Finish

March 11, 2015

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Rich Clarkson buries his hands in one of those boxes, sifting through the hundreds of photographs inside, searching for memories. He could reach into any one of these boxes and pull out a spellbinding shot: politicians, auto accidents, carnage from a tornado.
He draws out a photo of Stan Musial, close to retirement, hunched over and alone on the St. Louis Cardinals bench.

Next, he draws out a sequence of photos from the 1972 Munich Olympics: A Russian basketball player holding his arms up triumphantly, followed by three American players. One looks like his stomach is trying to wring out its contents. Another is angry. The last looks to be in deep shock. The U.S. had just lost the Olympic gold-medal game, in controversial style, to the Russians.

They’re the types of images for which Clarkson is best remembered – moments that reflect a deeper humanity that influenced the way people look at sports. Clarkson focused not just on the action, but also on the defining moments that came before the big games and after the big shots. He developed a signature low-angle style shot from a camera placed just off the baseline and pioneered the mounting of cameras behind backboards and above locker rooms to capture unique perspectives.

College sports was his preferred canvas for capturing those innovative illustrations of significant moments. It took him to dozens of Final Fours, where he captured some of the most memorable and reproduced images from the tournament: University of Kansas basketball coach Phog Allen giving his Jayhawks a pep talk at halftime; UCLA center Lew Alcindor pulling down a rebound over the University of Houston’s Elvin Hayes; North Carolina State University coach Jim Valvano, dazed from a historic upset of Houston, being hoisted onto the shoulders of his players and fans.

Read more of the visually stunning article at NCAA Champion Magazine.

Clarkson profiled for Final Four

April 18, 2013

Local Denver media, 9news, profiles Rich Clarkson and his run of the Final Fours. He shares some of the most epic Final Four moments and more below. Take a look.



How Clarkson got his start

March 25, 2013

As the 75th Final Four approaches and everyone’s brackets start to wither and die, we will see who will make it to The Big Dance in Atlanta this year.

Clarkson will be photographing his 59th Final Four this year and all because of a start he made back in 1950’s with Wilt Chamberlain.

Take a look below to hear how he got his first published photograph in Sports Illustrated.

History of the Final Four: White vs. Black

March 18, 2013

As the 75th anniversary of the NCAA Final Four approaches, we take a look back into history through the eyes of long-time Final Four photographer, Rich Clarkson.

A turning point for the evolution of the sport of basketball was the Civil Rights Movement. Clarkson documented an All-White team losing to an All-Black starting lineup for the first time — the story was later told through the motion picture ‘Glory Road’.

Watch the video below to hear his story: