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Best Seat in the House

Photography, sports and life as seen through the lens of Seattle Times photographer Rod Mar.

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December 6, 2008 11:46 AM

Atlanta Photojournalism Workshop: Bill Eppridge.

Posted by Rod Mar

Just got back from a nice three day trip to Atlanta, where I was asked to lead the Sports Photography Workshop at the famed Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar.

Founded in 1973 by a group of working pros, the Seminar has continued its fine tradition of promoting photojournalism via an impressive list of speakers, a photo contest and other associated events.

I was responsible for two 90-minute sessions, and it was fun to talk about the Olympics, this blog and the job of sports photographers in the ever-changing climate of newspapers.

It's always fulfilling to meet young talented students and to see the passion in their eyes as they pursue their dreams.

Of course, I had to inject a dose of reality and spend some time talking about the challenging economic times, but I also reminded them that there will always be a place in the world for great visuals.

One highlight of the trip was reacquainting with legendary photographer Bill Eppridge. For those who are not familiar with the name, Bill was a longtime photographer for Life magazine. His most famous photo (of which there many) is his image of the slain Robert F. Kennedy lying in the arms of the busboy who was holding him after Kennedy was shot in Los Angeles on that fateful day in 1968.

Bill has a new book out, entitled "A Time It Was: Bobby Kennedy in the Sixties", documents the time that Eppridge spent with Kennedy during his campaign up until the time of his death. It's a beautifully photographed book, and Eppridge was kind enough to sign copies for many of us during a dinner before the start of the seminar.


In his presentation, Eppridge noted that while the book is timed to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Kennedy's death, he sees amazing parallels between R.F.K. and another current politician, President-elect Barack Obama. Those parallels, he noted, not only referenced the popularity each politician had with the public, but also the inherent danger that each lived with on a day-to-day basis.

Eppridge's was a compelling talk and slideshow that earned a standing ovation and rave reviews from everyone in attendance.

I was sitting next to Blake Discher, a noted speaker and commercial photographer based out of Detroit, and we were both enraptured. At the end of the talk, I said to Blake, "you know, I've seen him speak twice, and it's still amazing". Blake turned to me and said, "I just saw him speak in New York in October and I'm back for more".

Amazing stuff that inspires. You know I don't do a lot of linking/endorsing on this blog, but if you are looking for a great holiday gift this season, Bill Eppridge's new book is a great choice.

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