Masterful Storytelling

So here today is a the true Rite of Spring – Master’s Sunday.

There are/will be – dare I say – millions of people today glued to their TV’s to see how the Master’s Golf Tournement down in Augusta, Georgia, turns out.

I don’t golf, haven’t in about 25 or so years. Last time I really played a round, I was in high school. We were hacking around the public course, felt like it took forever. Not for me. A nice walk spoiled, like Mark

So, I don’t have any skin in the outcome of the Masters. I may sit an watch the end, to see how the final story plays out.

Storylines. It’s what the Masters is all about. Who’s up, who’s leading, who’s fallen off the pace. Who’s in the hunt for the Green Jacket.

It’s not without drama, for sure. Just yesterday, there was the big question as to whether Tiger Woods would be disqualified for a rule infraction. (he wasn’t DQ’ed…and now he’s four back, in the hunt to win.)

What I think about with events like this are the photographers covering the event. What track do they take to get the stories they want to tell.

It may all depend on what their editors tell them. I’m sure when Neil Leifer of Sports Illustrated got this image of Tiger winning the 2005 Masters, he knew what he had to get.

Focus in on Tiger, get the fist pump. Tell that story!

(c) Neil Liefer / Sports Illustrated

(c) Neil Liefer / Sports Illustrated

Dare I say, he got it, and he got it good. Ain’t no denying what’s happening in this image.

The beautiful color of the course, Tiger in full fist-pumping winning glory, the people and their appreciation. I’m sure there are plenty of Tiger fans that got posters of this moment and have it hanging in their office or den right now.

But what about the other stories from the Augusta? Like I said, there are many…and some might not be on those beautifully manicured greens.

(c) Joe McNally

(c) Joe McNally

When the Masters rolls around, I often think more about this photo from Joe McNally than the Leifer photo.

Why? I think because it tells more of a story to me. Not a better one than Neil’s…just a different one. But one I’d rather tell with my images.

The gents in the photo are two local caddies, Hop and Mark, who often work Augusta National golf course for the people that are members. These guys would toil in all kinds of Georgia weather…except at the Masters. See, what happened was, when the PGA ruled that the pros could bring in their own caddies, locals like Hop and Mark missed out on a pretty sizable payday.

The thing is, it’s guys like Hop and Mark that keep Augusta going. The golf course aside, Augusta is a hardscrabble town. You step off the course and it’s another world. It’s not all perfect fairways and azaleas

Joe was trying to capture this disparity between the wealth and the non-wealth. In his book, The Moment It Clicks, Joe tells the story of trying to connect with Hop and Mark, and it was a tough road.

He finally tracked them down at the Sand Hill Grill. They said “Yeah, we’ll do the photo tomorrow.” Joe’s instincts took over, knowing full well that tomorrow may never happen. Not with these guys. He decided then and there to tell the story. He pulled out his lights, got lucky with the door opening and light from the bar spilling out.

And he DID tell the story. This particular story. Sure, he’s told the Master’s story other ways as well. Check out his blog post from Friday to see some of his other photographic recollections. But it was the Hop and Mark version that I like best.

As I think about the photos that I like to take, and that are the most impactful to me, it’s images like the one of Hop and Mark. Sure, I rememember *a* photo of a fist-pumping Tiger Woods. But I couldn’t tell you what Masters it was from, or who shot it. I had to Google all that.

I remembered Joe’s. (There’s a whole other long story of a nondescript photo of Bo Jackson that I remember…and who happened to have shot it? Yeah, Mr. McNally…)

Why do we remember certain photos? Why do we look to shoot certain photos? It’s hard to say. We’re all piecing storylnes together. There’s not doubt, it would be fantastic to be on the green of Augusta getting that shot, or in the end zone getting The Shot of The Catch (The great Walter Iooss shot that one.)

But just always keep in mind there may be another story tell, or another way to tell the same story.

There are plenty of ways to tell a story – Neil and Joe do it phenominally well on all accounts – and there’s not one way that’s better than the other.

Let’s just keep getting our cameras in different places.

Tell the story. Masterfully.

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2013

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One thought on “Masterful Storytelling

  1. What a wonderful post Mark. As a sportsfan, and a onetime golfer I can certainly appreciate your outlook on this – we have a similar sensibility. The winning and the losing are the stories that most may look for, but scan the edges of things and something interesting is very likely to turn up!

    Can’t believe “The Catch” is 97th on SI’s all time sports photo list though, seems like it should be a lot higher (but i may be biased as a 49er fan 😉

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