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

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 9.44.55 AM

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 named Basketball Hall of Fame recipient

February 13, 2015

We want to honor our founder, Rich Clarkson, who was named the next recipient of the Basketball Hame of Fame’s Curt Gowdy Media Award, alongside Woody Durham.

The prestigious award is presented to members of the print and electronic media whose longtime efforts have made a significant contribution to the game of basketball.

Congrats Rich and we wish him a great journey into his 60th Final Four!

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NCAA cover brings home gold award

August 1, 2012

For TABPI, the Trade Association of Business Publications International, the Tabbie Awards represent the best in trade publications from medical, digital, to everything in between.

The 2012 Tabbie Awards featured nearly 500 entries, with nominations coming from the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates, France, India, Singapore and South Africa.

Photographer, Jamie Schwaberow, won the Gold Tabbie Award for his cover photograph of NCAA Champion Magazine featured below. The judging comments were “This photograph is great… the basketballs frame the subject perfectly, it’s colorful without being distracting and it sets a great tone. The copy balances the photograph nicely.”

Photographers like Schwaberow at RCA shoot the Champion Magazine covers on a quarterly basis profiling certain student athletes excelling within NCAA athletics.

 

CBS News ‘This Morning’ profiled Rich Clarkson for 57th Final Four

April 4, 2012

Since 1952, Rich Clarkson has been a staple of the NCAA Final Four Tournament documenting history. From the emergence of the black athlete to the different style of the game, Rich has been travelled the road to the Final Four 57 times.

With that, Charlie Rose and CBS News This Morning gave him some airtime this year on the Monday morning of the Championship game.

Take a look below on the insider’s look into the mind of the ‘Legendary Final Four photog’ Rich Clarkson.

The Kansas City star newspaper also profiled Rich in their story on Kansas’ Final Four win. Take a look here.

University of Denver

February 6, 2012

One of our clients, the University of Denver, is currently in the middle of their busiest time of year for athletics. With that being said we tend to keep busy as well making images at basketball, hockey and gymnastics events throughout the week. The images below are a mashup of favorites from myself, Steve Nowland and Ryan Mckee. Enjoy.

-Josh

©Steve Nowland/Rich Clarkson and Associates

©Steve Nowland/Rich Clarkson and Associates

©Ryan McKee/Rich Clarkson and Associates

©Ryan McKee/Rich Clarkson and Associates

©Joshua Duplechian/Rich Clarkson and Associates

©Joshua Duplechian/Rich Clarkson and Associates

The 2011 Men’s Final Four in Photographs

April 21, 2011

As a collective group of 5 photographers covering the 2011 Men’s Final Four in Houston,TX we have nearly every angle and scenario planned out. In the end it’s often exciting to see what each individual on the team walked away with in images. No perspective goes undocumented.

-JD

©Joshua Duplechian/NCAA Photos


©Ryan Mckee/NCAA Photos


©Ryan McKee/NCAA Photos


©Joshua Duplechian/NCAA Photos


©Ryan McKee/NCAA Photos


©Rich Clarkson/NCAA Photos


©Ryan McKee/NCAA Photos


©Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Photos


©Joshua Duplechian/NCAA Photos


©Ryan McKee/NCAA Photos


©Joshua Duplechian/NCAA Photos

Mountain West Conference Basketball

March 25, 2011

For several years now Rich Clarkson and Associates have had the Mountain West Conference photography contract. In that time, we’ve come to expect big things from the annual basketball tournament typically held in bustling Las Vegas, Nevada. This year Jimmer Fredette was the big show. While photographing 16 games in a span of five days may be tough on the legs and back it was all worth it to see some fantastic Men’s and Women’s basketball. These are a few of Jamie Schwaberow’s and my favorites from the games.

-Josh

©Jamie Schwaberow/Rich Clarkson and Associates

©Joshua Duplechian/Rich Clarkson and Associates

©Jamie Schwaberow/Rich Clarkson and Associates

©Joshua Duplechian/Rich Clarkson and Associates

©Jamie Schwaberow/Rich Clarkson and Associates

©Joshua Duplechian/Rich Clarkson and Associates

©Jamie Schwaberow/Rich Clarkson and Associates

©Joshua Duplechian/Rich Clarkson and Associates

©Jamie Schwaberow/Rich Clarkson and Associates

©Jamie Schwaberow/Rich Clarkson and Associates

©Joshua Duplechian/Rich Clarkson and Associates

©Joshua Duplechian/Rich Clarkson and Associates

History on the Low Angle

May 3, 2010

The low angle basketball picture — the camera right on the floor — has become the popular “in angle” these days and it is interesting to watch, for this was something I began doing back in the 1950s — and have ever since.

For me, it began with one of my first cameras while as a student, I photographed Kansas University basketball games, selling pictures to newspapers in Kansas City and Topeka along with the AP and the old Acme Telephoto networks.  It was a 4 x 5 Speed Graphic which had a rising front.  With the camera sitting right on the floor, you could raise the lens — and the perspective.  One of the first really successful pictures I made that way was of the legendary Oklahoma A & M basketball coach, Hank Iba, coming off the bench yelling to make sure the officials called the foul on KU player Harold Patterson.  The picture won several contests.

I began using that technique fairly regularly, swinging the camera on the floor from side to side following the action without ever looking through it.  This particular technique was working to make dramatic pictures at the same time I read how the famous Texas sports photographer, Jimmy Laughead, told of the same technique in all the posed action pictures he made for teams across the country for many years.  Jimmy said the low camera angle made the players seem bigger and more heroic.

In the 1970s when I was doing the Final Four for Sports Illustrated every year, I placed one motorized Hasselblad on the floor right against the padded basket standard, also alerting the game officials running the baseline that I had a camera there — not to kick it.  That was how informal things were in those years.  I tripped it with a wire to where I sat with another eye-level camera just a few feet away — but the low angle made almost all the good pictures.  From the UCLA years, there was a memorable picture of Bill Walton in the Los Angeles Sports Arena that has been republished many times.

It was in the 90s when one of the NCAA tournament directors asked me what I thought of painting the apron black or deep blue.  Right off, I said it was a good idea for I envisioned from the low camera angle providing a mirror image — which was exactly what it did.  Only then, I moved to the far outside position on the baselilne to get more of the floor in the foreground — and the mirror image.  Over those more recent years, I got three different double truck openers in SI from that position which every now and then, provided something more than just the reflected image.  In 2001, Duke’s Mike Dunleavy hit two threes from my outside corner to wrap up the game for the Blue Devils.  That low corner position was perfect for his shots right from my corner.  A little luck never hurts.

But it did hurt — a little — in 1998 when two Kentucky players chasing a loose ball going out of bounds right in front of me dived right into the camera and me.  It didn’t hurt that much because I knew it was going to be a really good picture.

Most of those pictures were made with the Hasselblad which I have always considered the best basketball camera.  It’s 2 1/4 format lets you choose either a vertical or horizontal final version, depending on the action.  And it also enabled me to get that floor reflection, if it worked out.  However, the Hasselblad had no rising front like the Speed Graphic and somehow, you had to point the camera slightly up and I wanted it as close to the floor as possible.  So from 1969 until 2004 —  my Hasselblad years — I always raised the camera just the right amount.  By putting a boxed roll of 120 film under the front of the camera.

I really miss the film years.

-Rich Clarkson