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.

The Benchmark Revealed

October 23, 2013

As we celebrate 25 years, Rich Clarkson and Associates LLC has been a company of many disciplines, ranging from photography and book publishing to consulting and video production. Digital technologies continue to revolutionize our industry and remaining at the forefront has enabled us to deliver a high quality product faster than ever before and has allowed us to keep pace with the new and diverse needs of our clientele. Over the past several months we have created a new website, changed our company name, and moved offices. We chose Clarkson Creative because we are a creative, passionate and enthusiastic group of people that welcomes challenges and new projects, while still serving our current clientele with the respect and professionalism that has made our company successful since 1987. Our slogan, “The Benchmark,” reflects our standard of treating clients with professionalism while sharing our expertise and exceeding expectations. This philosophy has shaped the way we adapt and change and will continue to push us forward in this fast growing world. We invite all of you to explore our new website at and learn a little more about what we do.

We have fun, we are passionate and it shows in the work we do.

A light painting of our new office buiding located at 1553 Platte St. in Denver, CO.

A light painting of our new office building located at 1553 Platte St. in Denver, CO.

Photo: Peter Lockley/Clarkson Creative

2500 hits!

September 3, 2013

Congratulations to Colorado Rockies First Baseman Todd Helton for getting his 2500th career hit.

All photos: Jamie Schwaberow/Rich Clarkson and Associates, LLC.

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Clarkson Creative Intern Photo of the Day

August 28, 2013

A man walks by as mimes Kelsey Turner and Joseph Temple get ready to perform on the 16th Street Mall.

A man walks by as mimes Kelsey Turner and Joseph Temple get ready to perform on the 16th Street Mall.

Photo: Evert Nelson/Rich Clarkson and Associates, LLC.

Clarkson Creative Intern Photo of the Day

August 27, 2013


A Saint Bernard, named Zeus, working as a service dog waits patiently on Coor Field as his owner participates in a Client Batting Practice.

Photo: Evert Nelson/Rich Clarkson and Associates, LLC

Cover shoot wins gold Tabbie award

July 2, 2013

Clarkson photographer, Stephen Nowland, was awarded the gold medal for magazine cover photography for the Tabbie Magazine awards for his work on the Summer 2012 NCAA Champion Magazine.

The magazine article, On Course to Succeed, showcases University of Washington golfer Cheng-Tsung Pan and his success in college as well as his goals for the pros.

Below are the judging comments from the Tabbie award panel:

“A very strong photograph and appealing cover. The perspective down the
aisle and contrast of his purple shirt is nice. It has a warm and friendly
look and feel to it. Having the shot in a collegiate setting versus a golf
course was a good move. Fantastic photo in a unique setting! Grabs your
attention and makes you want to know more.”

portrait photography for NCAA magazine

When I met Stan Musial

January 21, 2013

When Stan Musial began his final tour of the league, writer Ted O’Leary and myself accompanied him for a Sports Illustrated story. And that was when I began to understand the great respect and affection he held throughout major league baseball.

For in every city before his final game there, there were recognitions, gifts and celebrations. Many of them were giving him rocking chairs. Stan graciously accepted the accolades as his career in baseball wound down. But I think he missed as much as anything, having dinner at his favorite restaurant in each league city — for Stan savored good food almost before anything else. We accompanied him to several of his favorite haunts, but they should probably not be called haunts — for at each, the maitre’d greeted him with great aplomb as they were all five-star restaurants. He was greeted as a patron, not a baseball superstar. Stan could have written restaurant reviews for Gourmet magazine, but preferred to just eat.

Shortly after his retirement from baseball, Lyndon Johnson appointed him Director of the President’s Council on physical fitness and sport succeeding Bud Wilkinson. Stan was more of a figure head, but the job entailed traveling to various cities for public appearances, which meant dinners. Stan probably enjoyed finding new restaurants at cities not on the National League circuit as much as any part of the job, and it was during this time, V. L. Nishonlson working for the Council, commisioned me to make photographs at an event at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. When we all got to the hotel, the reservations were confused and everyone was doubling up. Thus, my roommate was Stan Musial. We checked in, sat down on the beds, each trying to think of something to begin a conversation. I didn’t know that much about baseball and he didn’t know that much about anything else. Until I suggested it was time to think about dinner.

After retirement from baseball, Stan and his friend Biggie started a restaurant in his beloved St. Louis which was always the place to go. And for many years, Stan was there to visit with patrons and have dinner.

That time at Colorado Springs, talk of dinner triggered the converstion and a long evening in which we were joined by others in the Council group. (The restaurant didn’t make Stan’s A-list but it was a great time.) In the course of those years photographing him, one of my pictures — an informal portrait sitting on the bench during batting practIce — became perhaps Stan’s favorite picture of himself (so he said) and I reprinted it many times for him to sign for others. When he would ask me for a print, he was always apologetic for causing me the trouble.

He was the most gracious and beloved athlete that I have ever encountered in my 60 or so years photographing sports notables and events.

And his picture, signed to me, hangs in the favorite place in my home today…


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.

RCA wins 3 Telly Awards

February 21, 2012

For over 30 years, the Telly Awards has been the premier award honoring outstanding TV commercials and programs, the finest video and film productions, and web videos and films.

With nearly 11,000 entries from all 50 states and foreign countries, a prestigious judging panel of over 500 accomplished industry professionals uphold the historical standard of excellence that Telly represents.

Less than 10% of entries are chosen as Winners of a Silver Telly, the highest honor.

Take a look below at our award-winning videos: