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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 2005-05-18

Sharing his love of sports photography
SportsShooter.com member G. Newman Lowrance authors new book

By Brad Mangin, SportsShooter.com

Photo by
When I was starting out in photography during high school I read as many books and magazines that I could get my hands on so I could learn more about this exciting new hobby that had consumed most of my free time. This was way before the Internet. This was in the early 1980's and luckily for me two Italian gentlemen, Massimo Cappon and Italo Zannier wrote the gold standard for sports photography in 1981: Photographing Sports: A Complete Guide to Technique and Equipment.

This fantastic book taught me so many things. I devoured the pages reading and re-reading them over and over again hoping to pick up on every tip on every page. I was always afraid I would miss something. I later found out that Sports Illustrated staff photographer Robert Beck felt the same way about this book. "This is one of two books I read over and over and over and over while I was learning how to take pictures. I'd never heard of Cappon nor Zannier. Of course, I didn't know a (Walter) Iooss from a (Neil) Leifer either. This book was very interesting and informative. It was my J school," said Beck about Photographing Sports.

Fast forward to 2005 and luckily for aspiring sports photographers everywhere SportsShooter.com member and WireImage staff photographer G. Newman Lowrance has just released his first book: Digital Sports Photography (Thomson Course Technology, April 2005). Lowrance, a former freelance photographer for NFL Photos whose work has appeared in ESPN The Magazine, Sports Illustrated and many other publications put together this book with the help of many of his friends and colleagues in the business: SportsShooter.com member Kevin Terrell, Jonathan Hayt, Andy Hayt and SportsShooter.com member Peter Read Miller.

"Megan Belanger of Thomson Course Technology originally initiated the book on digital sports photography around the holiday season in 2003. She had emailed me out of the blue after seeing my website (http://www.gnlphoto.com), and asked if I would be interested in writing a book on the subject. As I didn't really know the details of what she wanted I was initially hesitant, but I replied back to her saying I would be interested," Lowrance said.

Lowrance has come a long way from his early days of shooting for the Chiefs Report in Kansas City, the Wichita Thunder of the Central Hockey League and the minor league Wichita Wranglers. After moving to Los Angeles in 1996 he started to meet other photographers on the sidelines who would eventually shape his career.

Photo by

Photographing Sports: A Complete Guide to Technique and Equipment by Massimo Cappon and Italo Zannier.
"I had seen Newman at NFL games on the west coast and though I didn't know his name or his work, he seemed like a humble, hardworking shooter. We introduced ourselves at a Chargers game in 1997, and when I would see him afterwards I'd always ask him to send me some of his work," said Kevin Terrell.

"Being the photo editor for the NFL, I loved looking at photography, and was always on the lookout for new talent, even if we didn't have a need for an additonal shooter in a specific area- and we had several very good shooters on the west coast. Newman would always give me a blank look or just blow me off when I'd ask to see his work. This went on for a couple of years, until finally in 1999 I asked him, "Are you ever going to send me any of your images?" He wanted to know why I always asked him this, and when I told him what I did for a living he had this look on his face that said, "No freaking way!" Needless to say I was impressed with what he submitted and brought him aboard the following summer," Terrell added.

Lowrance had never thought of himself as a writer, but he had done some sports reporting for a newspaper years ago, and he thought it might be a good project since nothing had been written on the subject for quite some time. When he was starting up he had read Mickey Palmer's book Complete Book of Sports Photography over and over, and it was very helpful, but with the digital age and so many facets of photography changing over the past few years, he thought it would be a good idea to present an updated version.

A month or so passed before he heard back from Belanger again, and her first idea was to have the book written for professional photographers. Lowrance told her a professional wouldn't need this book, that they should concentrate on individuals that are just getting started (or want to start). They began to brainstorm on the books contents, and Belanger thought that Lowrance's background, having left the engineering field after moving to Kansas City from Los Angeles to become a full-time sports photographer could play a very important role in the book.

Photo by

Complete Book of Sports Photography by Mickey Palmer.
When they first were talking about the project Belanger was concerned about when would be the best time for Lowrance to actually write the book. He was still freelancing at the time and he didn't shoot a lot of basketball or baseball, so he told her from February through August (right before football season) would be the best time. Unfortunately, by the time all of the paper work and approvals were done, he didn't actually start writing the book until June of 2004.

"Newman loves sports, especially football, and it shows in his work. Unlike a lot of photographers, he doesn't get thrown off his game very easily by noticing what other shooters are at the same game he's at (intimidating for some) or experiencing equipment problems (something we've all dealt with). He's a pro's pro in that when he's at a game he's there to shoot it to the best of his abilities. He's very hard on himself and is constantly thinking of ways to improve his skills," said Terrell while talking about Lowrance.

"I can't tell you how many times we've shot games together and on the flight home or on the drive back from San Diego, he's complaining about what he missed or how he should have shot something differently. I tell him to save the drama for someone else, because he always has good games and he does," Terrell added.

By the time football season rolled around Lowrance and his editors were just through the initial edits and contents, and he was buried in traveling, shooting and editing the college and pro football games that he was covering. It made for most evenings staying up to the wee hours trying to get it done. Looking back, he's glad he had the deadlines as all of them had some trying times completing all of their writings and collecting the images to go with their chapters.

Photo by G. Newman Lowrance

Photo by G. Newman Lowrance

Miami Dolphins receiver Chris Chambers makes a catch against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick in December of 2001.
The week following the Super Bowl in Jacksonville was really hectic for Lowrance, as they were down to the final edits and layouts, and trying to stay within their allocated page count. At times he felt like Grand Central Station, gathering all of the contributors information while discussing changes, additions and deletions along the way. "All the guys (Terrell, J. Hayt, A. Hayt and Miller) were great to work with throughout the process, which made things much easier," Lowrance added.

The way the contributors came about was a story in itself. Shortly after Lowrance returned from the Super Bowl in Houston in February of 2004, Andy Hayt called him to discuss what he was going to do since NFL photos was being "dissolved". All of the current contributing photographers had the option to shoot the NFL for WireImage. Several of the NFL contributors were being pursued by Getty Images as well. "Andy and I had several discussions on the matter when one day I told him about the book project. He wanted to help out, and since my background was mostly shooting football, having someone that had shot a ton of NBA basketball (and a well-known and very well respected photographer) would be perfect for the basketball chapter. I didn't feel I should do the whole book by myself anyway, and having someone better known than myself couldn't hurt," said Lowrance.

One thing led to another, and Andy eventually told him that his brother Jon might be interested in writing about hockey, which wasn't an original topic when Lowrance was planning the book. Lowrance had shot a lot of Central Hockey League games during his days in Wichita, but having someone that had shot a lot of professional hockey and had also been a former lighting technician for Sports Illustrated as and suggestions on additional information that Lowrance eventually added to the book.

"Having worked for NFL Photos led to having Kevin Terrell (currently Business Manager-NFL for WireImage) write the "What an Editor Looks For" chapter. I can remember when I was first starting out with the NFL, how many questions that I had for him at the time, and what NFL Photos actually wanted to see. I thought this would be very beneficial for readers, to hear it from the other side from someone who spent each and every day looking at NFL photographs," said Lowrance while taking about how all the pieces of the puzzle came together.

Photo by G. Newman Lowrance

Photo by G. Newman Lowrance
"When he asked me to write a chapter on editing, I thought he'd lost his mind! Seriously, I was flattered, but I knew that I didn't have the name, recognition or shooting skills of the Hayt brothers and Peter Read Miller and I didn't want his potential readers to say, "Who is Kevin Terrell?" But it was a blast writing the chapter and getting feedback from Newman after I'd submit pages to him. I love to write and I love photography and I LOVE football, so this was editorial and photographic heaven for me'" said Terrell while looking back at the chapter he wrote for the book.

Terrell said that the one thing he would take from this experience is how much it meant to Lowrance to be able to share his love of sports photography in a simple manner that anyone could understand and enjoy. Lowrance would call Terrell several times a week and read these long paragraphs to him, and then he'd follow that up by emailing them to him to get his opinion again.

As the book was finally coming together, the subject on having a forward came up. Lowrance thought a lot about having a forward from someone very well known in the field, but only if they thought the book was worthwhile. There were several names he was considering, but he thought Peter Read Miller would fill that role the best. He had come to know Peter over the years at football games, airports, etc., and was always amazed at how friendly he was when he was just starting out. "Of course I had always respected his work immensely, having seen his images over the years in Sports Illustrated, but I was more impressed by what kind of person he was. I called him and told him about the book, what we were going to cover and who wrote what. By this time the book was through the first edits, so Peter could have a very good idea of what it encompassed. I definitely wanted him to feel comfortable about doing it. As it turns out, he thought the book was very good, which for me his "review" was a sigh of relief and gave me a really good feeling in general about the book," Lowrance added.

Photo by John Rieger

Photo by John Rieger

G. Newman Lowrance
This book will undoubtedly help many photographers young and old who wish to learn new techniques or to brush up on some methods they have forgotten. Much like I devoured Photographing Sports: A Complete Guide to Technique and Equipment a generation ago I can guarantee that there are many young sports shooters who will wear out the pages of Digital Sports Photography for years to come as they go through the book over and over again gaining knowledge from the pros and admiring the full-color photographs.

Now that the book has been out for a little while Lowrance is proud of what he has accomplished. "Of course the best satisfaction now is all of the great emails I've been receiving and seeing the positive reviews on the SportsShooter.com website. People are telling me how my story has inspired them, and how the book is already helping them to some degree. I guess that's good, because after all, that's what this book was supposed to do, right?" concluded Lowrance.

"As a friend, and pseudo-brotha (inside joke), I'm very proud of him." - Kevin Terrell

Related Links:
Lowrance's member gallery
Terrell's member gallery
Book: Digital Sports Photography
Book: Photographing Sports
Book: Complete Book of Sports Photography

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