Jimmy Colton takes 'making the cut' to a whole new level!

Jimmy Colton, January 14 - © Unique for the Space Last Thursday, our Space was graced with a pair of the best eyes in the business - Jimmy ('only my mother calls me James') Colton - photo editor for Sports Illustrated. Jimmy Colton, January 14, 2010 - © Unique for the Space Jimmy prepped us for his presentation by informing us that during the Olympics his job entailed reviewing 319,000 unedited images to narrow down to 70. Jimmy Colton, January 14, 2010 - © Unique for the Space That's right: 319,000>70. Crazy, right? Then he showed us the 70 or so images - and he proved his point! When we first met Jimmy at our SPORT opening, he told a wonderful story about how he sees his work as digging for the jewel in the lightbox. Jimmy showed us how SI became the source of the 'photo finish' for the famous Phelps 100m race. In this case the jewel was not too hard to find. Jimmy Colton on the Phelps 100m victory - © Unique for the SpaceJimmy Colton on Phelps' 100m victory - © Unique for the Space Each of his presentations were impeccably produced and superbly scored. The Olympics, Super Bowl, and my favorite, the Ooohs and Ahhhs reel. Jimmy Colton - Ooohs and Ahhhs - © Unique for the Space As is often the case, Jimmy's lecture was attended by some of our other IRIS Nights stars, on this occasion including Lucy Nicholson... Lucy Nicholson at Jimmy Colton Lecture - © Unique for the Space ...and Rick Rickman... Rick Rickman @ Jimmy Colton - © Unique for the Space ...and Manuello (Manu) Paganelli... Manuello Paganelli @ Jimmy Colton - © Unique for the Space Needless to say, after the lecture Jimmy was swarmed by appreciative guests. Jimmy Colton after the lecture © Unique for the Space Many guests asked Jimmy to sign the complimentary issues of Sports Illustrated he brought along as lecture favors! Jimmy Colton © Unique for the Space Always the gentleman - he was happy to oblige. Thank you Mr. Colton. The pleasure was ours!

Brewer's Tubular Zen

Living legend Art Brewer graced our Space Thursday night and was one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. He was totally down-to-earth, mellow, funny...and he actually showed up with a crew!
Art Brewer 1/21/10 © Unique for the Space

The last time we had so many people in the green room (really our Reading Room) was when David Hume Kennerly brought his whole family along to man his book-selling table!

After a brief intro to the intro by Annenberg Foundation Exec Director Leonard Aube, who spoke about the unexpected success we've had with our IRIS Nights lectures, Art came out, sat down and starting rolling out waves of images and stories for our delight.

Many of the pictures he showed were dominated by cascading walls of blue...Art Brewer © Unique for the Space

Others showed the secret inner life of tuberiders...
Art Brewer © Unique for the Space

And some were portraits of the many surfers that are Art's real 'crew' - many of whom he has known since he started shooting waves as a teen!
Art Brewer © Unique for the Space

Despite the driving rain outside, the house was full! Many of the guests seemed to be off-duty surfers coming to check in on their pal. And one or two of his photos actually had some land in them!

But the majority of what we saw were these incredible shots of little humans braving giant waves - accompanied by some incredible stories of the guy in the water shooting them!

Afterwards Art graciously took questions (and generously gave answers) to the faithful assembly...

...and then sat and signed books, meeting folks and cracking jokes.

Here he is signing a vintage issue of Surfer - the magazine that published his first cover shot when he was 16 years old.

Dude...how rad is that? (sorry...I had to!)

(all pictures © Unique for the Space)

Lynch brings a triple TKO with Ultimate Fighting's Brandon Vera, Watercolors, and his Mom!

Kevin Lynch
Last night Kevin Lynch brought the goods.

First he brought an amazing presentation of his work including celebrity portraiture, film posters, his exhaustive and up close coverage of the UFC fighters...
Kevin Lynch

...including some very challenging before and after bout pics.

...and some chilling portraits.

...as well as an abstract series that he co-created with his wife called "Watercolors."


Then... to make it all the more real... Kevin brought UFC fighter Brandon Vera to sit and talk with him.

Brandon was so gracious and polite it was hard to imagine him breaking noses and spilling blood.


...but his input was very interesting. He spoke about his contemporaries and about the logistics of growing a 'career' in Ultimate Fighting.

Afterwards they both stayed standing through a round of Q&A and the onslaught of fans.

Kevin also brought his urban-legend-rare and giant book, OCTAGON. The book, which has more than 800 four-color and black-and-white photographs, was printed and hand bound in Italy, weighing over 50 pounds.

It ranges in price from $2,500 to $7,500, depending on the edition, and is truly a work of art.

But for those who wanted to purchase a book for Kevin or Brandon to sign, there were some more affordable volumes on hand.

...and plenty of opportunity to press the flesh and mug for the cameras...

Oh! And did I mention that Kevin also brought his mom?

She even came back afterwards and got her son to sign a few books.

(cute!)

In short, Kevin really knocked us out. Thank you Kevin, Brandon and Mom. Y'all come back now y'hear?

(All images © Unique for the Space)

Neil Leifer returns...this time it's personal!

He came back! Yes that's right...Neil Leifer returned to our Space and gave an unprecedented 2nd IRIS Nights lecture!

(photo © Damon Webster)

Neil is truly a one-of-a-kind photographer. His one-of-a-kind work is on display at the Space through March 14. Don't miss it if you haven't seen it yet! Neil's so "one-of-a-kind" that we asked him to come back and offer a second lecture.

I love this pic...so Hitchcock!

Neil's lecture was an all new look at the subject of Football - the images coming from his insta-classic Taschen book "Guts & Glory: Golden Age of American Football," which he was very happy to show and tell us about.

If you have never had the opportunity to hear Neil Leifer speak you have to add this to your bucket list. His funny, fact-filled forays into the history of modern sports are truly unique.

Of course every good Neil Leifer lecture starts with ... well ... NEIL!...and no one can talk about the brash young teenage photographer breaking onto the scene like Neil can. Here he is facing off with his own history:

(photo © Damon Webster)

...and here he's consulting his current favorite authority on the subject...

As always, his images are historic, innovative and - at times - humorous!

Does ANYONE remember when football cheerleaders looked like this?

Amazing. For a man who has witnessed and participated in over 5 decades of sports history,

...Neil remains ever-grateful, ever-enthusiastic, ever-engaging and ever-entertaining about his life.

Thank you once again Mr. Leifer for another wonderful night!

(All photos © Unique for the Space except where noted)

Jimmy Chin is TOO Nice!

Jimmy Chin came to the Space to offer an IRIS Nights Lecture about his unique form of sports photography. What's so unusual about Jimmy's work you might ask? First of all he comes off as the nicest most unassuming guy you could ever meet.

He's almost cartoon character cute with an ever-present smile and a talent for understatement that would be hard to beat.

You would never guess by looking at him that he has climbed to the top of Mt. Everest a few times...and skied down from the top! Yes - this is him dutifully recording his friends walking across a ridge so that they could get to the best face to ski down. That little thing popping up from the ridge all the way to the right is a human being.

Jimmy said "we encountered a few minor obstacles getting across..." which meant that they had to rappel down one side of a gap in the ridge more than 40 feet until they could get the right angle to SWING to the other side of the gap - AT 28,000+ FEET!!!! - where they could keep creeping along until they got to this side:

Then they skied down at a descent angle of more than 50 degrees.

The whole time he described this as is it were the most normal thing in the world. Or should I say the most normal thing at the TOP of the world.

And here's an intimate little portrait of the top of the world. The weather gets a little weird 5 miles up - who knew?

Can you tell what this is? Sure! Just a person walking across some rickety ladders strapped to each other to form a rickety bridge that I wouldn't walk across at 10 feet no less 28,000.

But THAT is what these crazy mountain people do!


A couple of Jimmy's mountain goat friends came to lecture to show support, including Emile Hirsch. Back in January Jimmy led a weeklong all-star Summit on the Summit expedition up Mount Kilimanjaro to bring awareness to the climate summit. Emile joined as did Jessica Biel, Lupe Fiasco, Isabel Lucas and Elizabeth Gore.

That kind of activism takes dedication.


Emile was kind enough to pose afterwards with his mountain mentor Jimmy.

So that was what Jimmy and Emile did on their Winter vacation...while I caught up on my Tivo'd episodes of Heroes.

Throwdown at the Space!


When Laila Ali took the podium at the Space yesterday with her favorite photographer Mikki Willis, many of us were already expecting a brazen and strong voice from the reigning champion of women's middleweight boxing and daughter of the most famous boxer ever - Muhammad Ali.


Without a doubt Laila Ali lived up to the hype.


Laila was a powerful presence.


Mikki quizzed her on her boxing career and ran a slideshow of his work including some iconic portraits of her.

What we didn't expect was for Ali to be called out by a female audience member, amateur boxer Miss Tami, and challenged to a match to defend her undefeated title. During the Q & A following the lecture, Miss Tami approached the podium and faced Ali in a boxing stare down, "calling her out in front of everyone."

Laila surprised everyone by calling Miss Tami up to compare builds, reach, and hand-sizes. The audience was thrilled even as Staff pondered whether or not the situation was going to require a call to security.

It was clear, even before a smile broke free from them both, that the fearless mother, wife and fighter Laila Ali had no need for any guard or security.


Although Miss Tami or shall we call her Miss T. didn't get Ali to agree to a bout in the ring, her encounter might just develop into a more amiable relationship with one of the most inspirational female boxers today.


That Mikki Willis was personally selected by Laila Ali to discuss her life and career in front of an audience at the Space came as no surprise.

Their understanding of social responsibility and commitment to improving the lives of others is a common thread demonstrated in their work and emerged as the focus of the lecture.


The bulk of Mikki's questions turned the spotlight on Ali and were centered on her experiences and ideals rather than the intricacies of each photograph he captured of her,


but the discussion between the two friends still embodied the framework of Sports photography, the essential moments and people of sports history as captured by the photographer.

You tell us: How would you define Sports Photography?

(All photos © Unique for the Space)

Rutherford and Mendoza step up to the plate!

One thing that we love about the lectures for the SPORT exhibit has been the wonderful assistance provided by the Women Sports Foundation, who helped us bring some incredible athletes to share the podium with photographers. They introduced us to Aimee Mullins who came to speak with Howard Schatz, and Laila Ali who spoke with Mikki Willis.

Last night was another great pairing - this one with a female athlete AND a female photographer - the lovely lenslady Marla Rutheford and the bubbly Olympic medalist Jessica Mendoza.

From the way these two ladies played off of each other and cracked each other up you would think you were a fly on the wall at a fun sleepover, not in the room with innovating industry leaders.



For all the laughter and fun the two were very serious in their discussion of their experiences and the not so charming realities about making it in the industry of sports photography.

Marla spoke to the challenges she has faced in developing a trust relationship with her subjects, resorting to charm, intellect, a lot of humor and even a little fibbing so they would feel comfortable posing for artistic semi-nudes.

Jessica discussed the wake-up call moment she had when one of the first images of her in circulation was digitally enhanced by the publishers, causing her to question whether or not her appearance should play such a central role in the coverage of athletics.

They both shared captivating stories about these and other turning points in their extraordinary careers.

...and try as they might they could not stop cracking each other up!

At the end of the day we were just thrilled to be in the presence of such positive, accomplished and inspiring ladies.

(All photos © Unique for the Space)

Steve Fine Shows Us How It's Done - SI Style!

Guess who came to the Photography Space?

SMILE! It's Steve Fine from SI!

In the 'green room' before his lecture Steve paced claiming he was nervous, but you would never have known it once he started his lecture. Steve was alternately brash, funny, informative, inspired and inspiring.

Here's Steve's brash, funny, informative, inspired and inspiring dance:


brash

funny

informative

inspired

inspiring!

He brought with him some amazing produced and scored slideshows of the 2010 Olympics:

and regaled us with tales of 9 staff photographers, too little snow, too many pictures and the magic of putting it all together in real time like no one but Sports Illustrated can.

Steve's lecture was the final IRIS Nights talk during the SPORT: Iooss & Leifer exhibit, and his powerful presence drew quite a few luminaries including (surprise) Mike and Kitty Dukakis!

Steve - showing absolutely no signs of his alleged pre-show 'nerves' - was an ever-gracious speaker/host to all,

...including Lucy Nicholson from Reuters (who also lectured here),

...more than half of his 9 photographer staff, and even the illustrious and incomparable Howard Bingham!

All in all we were treated to a highly entertaining and amusing evening.

Thanks Steve!

Elizabeth Kreutz Cycles Up To IRIS Nights

Elizabeth Kreutz is the quintessential modern day sports photographer and she conveyed just that image during her IRIS Nights talk last night.

She does it all - photographing the Tour de France while five months pregnant, covering not one, but two Olympics and working a full year as the exclusive documentary photographer of Lance Armstrong during his comeback in 2009.

The twittering photojournalist makes sure she shares as many of her adventures on Twitter as she can. Elizabeth, with a little help, even managed to tweet a picture of herself during her IRIS Nights lecture.

Elizabeth's remarkable work with Armstrong has garnered her three awards -- World Press Photo for Sports Feature Story (first place), POYi for Sports Picture Story (first place) and the Photo District News Photo Annual.

Elizabeth's Twitter fans may have been disappointed she didn't share any pics of her baby boy Charlie during her presentation at the Space, but everyone left inspired by the amazing photographs that revealed sports celeb Armstrong's more private moments.

Elizabeth's presentation, which included the infamous drug-testing photo of the cyclist, covered everything you would want to know about Armstrong, including his quirks, passion as well as his dedication to the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Thanks, Elizabeth, for a great night and we'll see you on Twitter!

(All images © Unique for the Space)

Rickman Rocked!

Who's Afraid of Getting Old? Not Rick Rickman or his subjects!

© Unique for the Photo Space - Rick Rickman

Last night Rick Rickman pulled back the veil on a "senior underground - a movement that few know about and little has been written about. It's the venue in which people over 60 are enjoying the aging experience by keeping themselves enthusiastically engaged in life itself."

His infectious enthusiasm and personal stories about the geri-athletes he profiles were the perfect mix. Rick even brought along some of his subjects, including senior surfer Eve Fletcher - who at 83 years is still catching the waves!

© Unique for the Photo Space - Rickman and Eve Fletcher - senior surfer

Apparently Rick hangs ten with Eve a few mornings a week and she cuts him NO slack....

© Unique for the Photo Space - Rickman with photo of Eve Fletcher

She was similarly feisty in the Q&A that followed the lecture - for us she was the poster girl of the lecture.

© Unique for the Photo Space - Rickman and Fletcher
Rick also had on hand a couple of prize winning weight lifters named Bill Cunningham and Jane Hesselgesser whose physiques were in perfect form...and they were well past retirement age.

© DS for the Photo Space - Rick with image of Bill and Jane
Holy Jack LaLane!

The list went on as did the expectation-challenging images. Senior synchronized swimmers, shot-putters and Iron Man competitors!

© DS for the Photo Space - Senior Synchronized Swimmers

© DS for the Photo Space - Senior Shot Putter

Apparently one Rick's subjects, Sister Madonna Buder (not pictured here) finished Iron Man (26 mile run 10 mile swim and 100 mile bike tournament) 22 TIMES - once with broken ribs, elbow and shoulder!

Just when we thought we couldn't see something new at the Photo Space - it came wrapped in the package of something old...amazing athletes with an amazing life perspectives captured by an amazing photographer.

© Unique for the Photo Space - Rick Rickman greeting guests
Thank you Rick Rickman.