“Photography has been my life’s work and has afforded me the opportunity of leading an interesting life doing something I love. Photography has allowed me to have my hobby become my profession; and if I ever do retire my profession will once again become my hobby.” - Chuck Solomon
Chuck Solomon: The Legend Sports Photographer and his Greatest Photographs
Meet Chuck Solomon, our star sports photographer, he has been photographing sports, action and lifestyle for almost forty years. A former staff photographer, as well as a current contributor, at Sports Illustrated; his photographs have appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated numerous times.
Chuck Solomon shared his experiences on capturing memorable sports moments with Adorama TV on an interview below:
I was on assignment for Sports Illustrated when I shot this picture in the old Tiger Stadium, where you were allowed to shoot from right on the field. When I started out, pros were allowed to shoot on the field in Baltimore, Cleveland and Detroit, but Tiger Stadium was by far the best, with its cavernous stands, which went completely dark so images popped out at home plate against dark backgrounds. Shooting from the field also enabled you to could shoot from unique angles. I was shooting Gibson before the game around the batting cage and he yelled at me to shoot only during the game. He didn’t like photographers very much. I saw him a few weeks after I made this picture and asked him if he saw it, as it ran as a two-page spread in Sports Illustrated. He smiled and said it was “pretty good.” This image was selected by Sports Illustrated I as one of the 100 greatest sports photographs.
This was shot during a spring training game in Port Charlotte, Florida. Spring training lets you shoot day after day in great light. The problem is that key players only play a few innings and are usually not going to risk injury diving after balls, hitting walls or sliding head first into bases. Billy Ripken played with abandon. He had to, being much less talented than his more famous brother and in danger of not making opening day rosters. I knew I had something good when I shot this. But I wasn’t sure if I held focus. I held focus on one frame and the next one was out. Luckily the sharp one was the most important frame.
I made this picture on the last day at the old Yankee stadium. I knew the image I wanted and waited behind home plate waiting for Yogi to be introduced to complete the positions with all the other Yankee legends. The problem was that Thurman Munson’s widow, in a brightly colored leisure suit was announced right after him and was quickly catching up to the slow moving Berra. Fortunately she stopped for a few seconds and I was able to make a few frames of standing Yogi alone at the plate for one last time, where he had held court for so many years.
Harvey gets excited
Baseball is a game of action and reaction. Often the reaction is harder to anticipate and capture since it happens so quickly, unexpectedly and sometimes where you don’t expect it. I’ve learned to quickly aim my camera back to the pitcher’s mound after a key third out, whether it’s a key strikeout or inning ending double play. Harvey usually doesn’t give you much. But here he certainly did, after recording a key third out in last year’s World Series.