Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Rich Clarkson "The Champions: Portraits from the NCAA Arena" - NCAA Hall of Champions - Feb. 11, 2004 - 4 stars


* Pictured - Pete Maravich by Rich Clarkson, 1968.

Considered one of the 50 most influential individuals in American photography, Clarkson's sport portraits and action shots on exhibit at the NCAA are supreme. An exhibit display explains that his portraits are "Slices of the emotional ride through which sports take us." And so true this is upon surveying the unglamourized, unheroic or idealized images of sports greats through game candids and portraits from the 1950s to now. "Pistol" Pete Maravich's 1968 portrait as a player for Louisiana State is one example. The beautiful, true-to-life color and technical expertise of the shot allows the viewer to see Maravich's ruddy knuckles and the tender little boy looks of this super star with a way-out-there jump shot. Though beautiful, this piece, like all of the pieces in the exhibit, also reflects a triumphant sense of success. There is an emotional sense of drama within the tiny exhibition space. The images are approximately 24-by-40-inches, a large size that only enhances their lifelike crispness. Clarkson's images have appeared in Sports Illustrated, Time and Life magazines. He, like his subjects, is the best of the best. Through April 24, 2004; 317-916-HALL. -Mary Lee Pappas

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