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|| News Item: Posted 2005-05-31

Ode To Jube: 'You know what that means don't you?…I get pictures of TV's rear ends.'
By Robert Beck, Sports Illustrated

Photo by Robert Beck / Sports Illustrated

Photo by Robert Beck / Sports Illustrated

This is what happened to Robert Beck when the TV crew blocked his volleyball jube.
(Editor's note: Sports Shooter asked several photographers their take on jube photos, those images we made at the end of games that demanding editors go bonkers over but lately are more contrived, choreographed situations played for the TV cameras. What's it really like at the end of "the big game" and how did it get this way?)

Reaction shots at the end of events are where the most emotional pictures are born. Especially at college events.

I shot the NCAA Women's Volleyball Finals this year and when I picked up my credential the media person made sure of the fact that I had to stay behind TV at the end of the final match. I said, "You know what that means don't you?" She said , "No." "I get pictures of TV's rear ends."

She didn't get it. Sure enough, at the end of the match, the girls went crazy and all of our pictures were of TV cameramen and line draggers (with what appeared to be college coeds joyously dog-piling behind them).

Needless to say, I was not happy. I made that fact known to the PR person. Her director came up to me and said "Don't worry, you'll get your trophy shot."

I told him that everyone gets a trophy shot. What we want is that once in a lifetime shot that happens only once AT THE ONLY MOMENT IT CAN HAPPEN.

I wrote a letter to the NCAA ... Gail E. Dent, Associate Director of Public Relations and explained my/our frustrations to her AND enclosed my jube image of the TV guys.

I also sent examples of photos that have run from the Masters golf tournament, the only sporting event I know of that does not allow TV to run amok: Clean covers and spreads that are beautiful and notably TV - less. I received a nice letter from her saying she was unaware of the problem and would look into it.

Now the flip side … I shot one Super Bowl from the field, in Houston, last year where the guards began roping off the field before the end of the game to keep the photographers off. Cool. We all get an open shot.

When the gun sounded to end the game, experienced photogs stormed through, over and around the ropes and performed acts generally left to TV cameramen and line draggers.

By the time I figured I needed to get out there (about 15 seconds later) guards were pushing back and grabbing my gear.

Now to the NCAA basketball championship. TV is supposed to wait 30 seconds or so before they make their charge and photogs may not charge at all. One NCAA floor person did a great job of keeping TV crews off at her end of the court. Confetti and streamers flew. If you were in the right place and on the right player, you got a great shot. John McDonough was in a tough spot but made a fabulous image (it ran in the commemorative issue). At least there was opportunity to make images for half a minute with no one in the way.

Suggestions? WRITE THE NCAA. Write the NFL. Write the NBA. Let them know your opinions in a constructive way. Send them images. Maybe it will help. It won't get any worse. Police ourselves. If we don't, THEY will.

The address for Ms. Dent at the NCAA is:
PO Box 6222
Indianapolis, IN

(Robert Beck is a Sports Illustrated staff photographer based in Southern California.)

Related Links:
Beck's member page

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