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Earlier in the year I received in my inbox some rather nice images taken on one day by Tod Papageorge at the Alabama-Auburn foortball game, in Birmingham, Alabama in November 1970. Tod had received a Guggenheim Fellowship Grant and had chosen sport and its role in American life as his subject. 1970 was a watershed year for public opinion against the Vietnam war which cast a grave historical shadow over the project. The project was published by Aperture in the book American Sports, 1970 The publishers statement says:

"Each and every picture is electric with disquiet. Military men in uniform parade across a field or relax in the stands. Cheerleaders rehearse beneath the gaze of the police. A couple sprawls and embraces in the debris of the Indianapolis 500. And hundreds of fans are drawn in unsettling group portraits at various stadiums and in the stands of many classic American sporting events. Papageorge eloquently and palpably captures the civic and psychic distress of the time on the faces of his subjects and in their gestures and interactions"

Apart from the interest of seeing the young Jackson Five and Duke Ellington in attendance in these pictures, it certainly ads significance while viewing them to bear in mind that while cultural and sporting life continued in the US over 58,000 young American men lost their lives in Vietnam, 6,081 in the year these pictures were made alone. Most of the people in these images will go home from the football field to see the latest death tole on the evening news.

Accompanying the pictures below, Tod wrote:

"They're out-takes from my book, of course, or, more precisely negatives that I never even scanned for the book. Since I expect that most, if not all, of them will never see the light of day"

Well here they are...seeing the light of day.

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

image: Tod Papageorge

16 Responses to “Tod Papageorge 40 year old out-takes”

  1. Cary

    Great post, thanks for sharing these.

  2. Blake

    Great photos. The Jackson Five picture is very strange in this context. Thanks for sharing, Nick (& Tod).

  3. Waxy

    If I didn’t know better, I might confuse these outtakes for Winogrand. So, thanks for sharing Papageorge. From what I’ve seen of his photo published in American Sports on the web, it’s very good.

    What continually strikes me when I see event photos like these is how access to restricted areas really makes the project. Most of the photos above were taken in the crowd, and maybe that’s part of the reason they didn’t have the punch to be included in the final edit. With the 2010 Olympic Games on the horizon, and in my city of Vancouver, I have been trying to get access but it’s exceedingly difficult to get media accreditation. In fact, I am not going to get it as there are only 300 spots and the lucky photogs were chosen a long time ago. It looks like I’ll have to make my project from the sidelines, to use a dated sporting analogy.

    Several days ago I read a post about Olympic photography at Beijing on aphotoeditor.com. It was an interview with the photo editor of Newsweek and how he came to choose his three photographers for the assignment. While I clearly don’t have the reputation of the heavyweights chosen for the 2008 Games, I was largely disappointed by their Olympic portfolios. I would prefer to see someone like Papageorge at the 2010 Olympic games in Vancouver. But maybe that’s why I buy PUBLICATION and not Sports Illustrated…

    Anyway.. I guess my point it that while having access doesn’t make great pictures, it certainly makes for better opportunities.

  4. lesley

    Tod, where you been hiding these? Awesome outtakes … nicely seen, nicely selected. Cheers for 2010!

  5. admin

    Interestingly Tod said these were scanned “in response to a request from someone at HBO who is working on a documentary about racism in 60s-70s (college?) sports”, you can see the crowd is almost entirely white, most of the African Americans in the shots are selling something except, of course, for the Jackson Five and Duke Ellington.

    John it must be very frustrating not being able to get good access to the games but I imagine there we be an interesting scene surrounding the event for street work. It will be a shame if the only pictures to come out of it are classical sports shots, its more than just a sporting event. David Gibson in London lives adjacent to the Olympic site, I have been encouraging him to record the changes in the neighborhood that all the re-development causes.

  6. Blake

    The lesson I take from these photos is not that access is important but just the opposite. Access is relatively unimportant. Most of these photos and the others included in American Sports could’ve been taken by anyone at that event with a camera, no special press pass needed. This can be extended to street photography in general. Most of the great shots in history have been made in public with no special preparation or arrangements.

    I think the Olympics will be a great photo op with or without a press pass, and in fact I expect your odds are better without one since most photos from the photojournalist press tend to look fairly homogeneous. Good luck shooting.

  7. Matt

    I tend to agree with you Blake. However I just saw these and thought a few were pretty darn good, not all of them that homogenous and definitely with a press pass.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/gallery/2010/jan/01/tom-jenkins-pictures-of-the-decade

  8. Wayne

    So many good photos. And the best photo of Duke Ellington nobody has ever seen (the flautist…)!

  9. Jack Simon

    Thanks for letting these get to see the light of day. Some are quite outstanding. Also it is interesting for me to see some average shots from a talented person that would not make his edit.

  10. Fotografiskt » Blog Archive » Tod Papageorge och publiken

    […] en sådan fotograf. Nu har en tidigare opublicerad serie bilder från Papageorges idrottsprojekt dykt upp på Nick Turpins fina streetfotoblogg […]

  11. Waxy

    @Nick, Blake, Matt:

    I largely agree — there certainly is a larger story to be told before, during and after the Olympics. Beyond the sporting events or how a city evolves in the years leading up to the Games, there is the story of the visitors, and so many more subjects at hand.

    Even if I could get access to the official events, I would not want to be cordoned off in the stations set aside for the press pass holding photogs, and that’s where I think Blake viewpoint rings true. Clearly the odds of finding new and interesting shots are greater by not being quarantined in tightly controlled press areas. That said, are those confined spaces (i.e, the shooting gallery and press conferences) the only areas where media photographers have access at the Games? I doubt it.

    In my ignorance, I’m not sure how much access even the press photogs have. Surely there are limits for them, too. However, I’d rather close my own doors rather than have the IOC do it for me. I think Trent Parke’s 2003 Canberra Balloon Fiesta in Australia would suffer if he wasn’t allowed to ride in a balloon. Or on the subject of sports, my polar bear photographs would be far less energetic by standing behind the fence and yet these are the kinds of photographs I want to see of the Olympiads, or those of London’s James Dodd:

    http://jamesdodd.net/projects/olympic-dreams/

    Anyway, access can add a certain punch, even if it is not necessary. These photographs don’t need to tell the whole story, maybe just some filler shots for an Olympic project. ;)

  12. Waxy

    The following article was just published today about Olympic access and it reiterates Blake’s point. I’m actually even more worried than before because I wanted to do a multimedia project and audio and video are forbidden, at least it seems. Not sure how much I can get away with by doing an “art” project….

    An independent reporter’s guide to the 2010 Olympics
    By Mike Small
    | January 4, 2010

    http://rabble.ca/news/2010/01/independent-reporters-guide-2010-olympics#vancouver2010%20#journalism

    P.S. Sorry about redirecting the conversation, though maybe this “access” discussion it is relevant.

  13. Lisa

    I am surprised at all the ballyhoo about access v. no access. What we really should be looking at here is how his outtakes are better than most of our first string images. We should work harder on our craft – access is just the first speedbump.

  14. Amit

    Loved all the images in this blog.. I always love to capture street and candid photography..you will never get that amazing expression in a persons face wen you keep everything in order..using the highest iso you get the best that you might never expected..

  15. Waxy

    @Lisa – I wouldn’t call it ballyhoo. The discussion about access is about working harder on our craft in order to make better and more compelling pictures. Also, access doesn’t have to be only about getting into a sporting event but also freedom of speech. Personally I see this discussion as interesting tangent to police officers restricting access in public spaces. The IOC is terribly protective of their brand. While I had heard this prior to Vancouver being awarded the games, it’s another thing to see it in person. In fact, Vancouver recently created a by-law to give Olympic officials the authority to enter private apartments to remove anti-Olympic protest signs. How is that for access! After some backlash, the city of Vancouver clarified the by-law, but it’s still not great for the rights of citizens. Furthermore, protest zones have been created for the Games. Thus, even in public space, protesting is technically off limits. I’m curious how photographers will be treated. For example, these terrible ads were recently posted in the lead-up to the Olympics:

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/511073@N24/discuss/72157615505511301/

    Anyway.. I guess what I’m saying is that there are lots of aspects to access and when it impedes how I want to shoot, it’s somewhat disappointing.

  16. Walter Dufresne

    “We knew the little bitty boy with the big Afro and the brown skin. That’s how I’ll always remember Michael.” Doris Arrington, 77, of Gary, Indiana
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/26/arts/music/26jackson.html?pagewanted=2

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