Canale: Legends of the camera: Charles Conlon

From Larry Canale at The National Pastime Museum on March 25, 2015:

The first time a photograph really caught my eye—I actually remember the moment—was in spring 1969. Already a baseball-card-carrying kid, I received my April ’69 Sport magazine, with its “Farewell to Mickey Mantle” cover line, and was knocked out by the photograph staring back at me. It’s a low-angle, dramatic portrait of the Magnificent Yankee, hat in hand, glove tucked under arm, eyes looking off into the distance. . . .

This image sent me on a lifelong study of high-impact baseball photography. Some 25 years later, in a twist of fortunate events, I met the photographer who created that memorable Mantle image, Ozzie Sweet (1918–2013). We went on to collaborate on two books and, more important, became close friends for the rest of his life.

Knowing Ozzie deepened my appreciation of photography. And watching him work drove home the idea that the best photographs, baseball or otherwise, reveal something unique, something telling, about the subject. It’s easier said than done, as anyone who has handled a camera (and that includes most of us!) can attest. Knowledge of equipment and an understanding of lighting are key attributes, of course. And the best photographers have a flair for composition and an ability to win over a subject.

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Originally published: March 25, 2015. Last Updated: March 25, 2015.