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Sports Illustrated Slide Show: Artifacts from the not-so-distant past

Sports Illustrated Slide Show: Artifacts from the not-so-distant past

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This new book from SI offers up mounted slides from their archive as objets d'art and showcases the history of many iconic images from their collection.

By Jack Howard

May 4, 2009

Sports Illustrated Slide Show: How the Picture Tells Its Story ($29.95 USD), by Steven Hoffman (Intro by Terry McDonnell, Edited by Bill Syken) is a great new highly illustrated coffee table book showcasing the photographic legacy of this magazine in a very photocentric way. Chromes from the whole of the magazine's analog era are showcased uncropped in their slidemounts, marked up, taped, tagged and scrawled upon, alongside eventual (and oftentimes repeated) crops and treatments in the pages of the magazine and SI books and special publications.



This book shines a light into the rapidly disappear world of film-based shooting and archiving on an enterprise level. Back before IPTC and metadata, before streaming images live from a camera to an online archive. When filing cabinets and arcane indexing systems ruled the roost of every publication. No two indexing systems are the same, and while photographers of a certain age will absolutely feel more of a sense of nostalgia than younger shooters and non-photographers, the appeal of this book isn't just for old-timers. This is a brief visual history of sports journalism as seen through the lenses and lightboxes of SI's photographers and editors.

No amount of metatagging, keywording, or digital image history in a "bits and pixels" based system of a shot of Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps from Beijing 2008 can match the overall "tactile factor" of the hodepodge of handwritten dates, smudges, dot-matrix captioning, grime, and still-barely-there words "do not send out (underlined 3x for emphasis!)"  of Heinz Klutetmeier's players and fans shot from the 1980 US Hockey Teams semifinal win over Russia en route to the gold.

As much as this book is about the photographs, it is also about the photographers and their stories. For example, Robert Beck was breaking the rules and shooting from an an 'illegal' position, when he captured the famous shot of Brandi Chastain celebrating her winning PK past China's Gao Hong.

Photographers and sports fans will certainly appreciate this book. But the clean, crisp, image-first design makes for a great "read" for just about anyone and everyone with an interest in current events, sports, and media history. Check out a few more sample slides from the book over at!



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