Walter Iooss was just 16 years old when he photographed his first sporting event. In 1959, his father, a jazz musician and amateur photographer, purchased season tickets for the New York Giants, whose home games were played in Yankee Stadium. There, Iooss shot his first roll of film with a 300 mm lens. He was, as he says, “consumed by sports and form.” Between his junior and senior year of high school, he took a beginner photography course in at the Germain School of Photography in Manhattan, which taught him the basics of film processing. Still in his teens, he wrote Sports Illustrated expressing his interest in sports photography, primarily baseball. The magazine hired him, and he had his first cover by age 19. He, along with his equally precocious rival Neil Leifer, became the most prolific sports photographers of 20th and 21st centuries American sports.
Athletes have provided Iooss with a provocative and enduring body of work; from his early photographs of Hank Aaron gracing the diamond, to his portfolios of Michael Jordan on the court and at home, to portraits of golf ingénue Jordan Spieth, basketball all-star LeBron James, and baseball legend Derek Jeter. While his early photography captured the tension of the game, his current work focuses on portraiture—posed images taken in the studio, bringing out the charisma, turmoil, joy, and humanity of the heroes of sport.
This small exhibition features photographs from the Carlos Museum’s permanent collection of Works on Paper and images from private collections.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website