Magic Photo Moments in the World of Sports

Photo of New York Yankees Captain Derek Jeter by Dick Druckman
© 2010 Dick Druckman. All rights reserved.

New York Yankees Captain Derek Jeter Hits a
Home Run Against the Los Angeles Angels (April 2010)

It was the annual rivalry between Trinity College and Princeton University squash teams, and the players were lining up to be introduced. If Trinity won, they would go on to vie for their 13th straight National Championship, unprecedented in college sports history.

Photo of Dick Druckman

© Joan Druckman. All rights reserved.

Dick Druckman

Gold Metal Impressions Gallery
Collectable Sports Photography

Against the backdrop of the white walled squash court stood a man dressed in black, his Nike D3 S poised and ready to pop. It was Dick Druckman, Trinity’s official photographer for the past 13 years, a sports photographer of international renown, and the owner of the largest sports photography gallery in the country.

Trinity was Dick’s alma mater, and he was nervous, even though he’d captured dozens of more famous sports rivalries at the past 10 Super Bowls, World Series, and Olympic Games. Those once-in-a lifetime photos made the pages of Sports Illustrated, USA Today, USA Today Sports, Parade Magazine, and The Associated Press, which placed them in newspapers around the world, not to mention the covers of Squash Magazine and the recently published book, Run to the Roar, by Trinity Squash Coach Paul Assiante.

Druckman’s rise to prominence in the world of sports photography is as remarkable as his pictures. Born and raised in Hartford, Connecticut, he went on to earn a BA degree from Trinity and an MBA from Columbia University. He then married his sweetheart Joan before beginning a successful career at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) in Princeton, New Jersey, where he eventually became vice president of strategic planning. Along the way, his passion for taking pictures remained relegated to the role of hobby.

“My interest in the camera began as a child,” he says. “My dad, a salesman, was a camerabuff. He took moving pictures with an 8-millimeter camera and stills with a Kodak Brownie. He had calendars made of my two sisters and me to give to hiscustomers. Like my Dad, my first camera was a Kodak Brownie, but I soon graduated to an Olympus and then a Nikon.”

Photo of Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay by Dick Druckman

© 2010 Dick Druckman. All rights reserved.

Photo of Michael Jordan by Dick Druckman

© 2003 Dick Druckman. All rights reserved.

Philadelphia Phillies Roy Halladay Pitches Second
No-Hitter in Baseball Playoff History against Cincinnati Reds (October 2010)

At the start of the eighth inning, stadium fans soon realized that Roy Halladay had a shot to break sports history with a no-hitter. The excitement was so palpable that everyone knew something “big” was about to happen. I photographed every pitch Halladay threw, hoping to capture his last. The winning photo, however, was Roy’s celebration with his catcher, Carlos Ruiz, following their 4-0 victory. AP sent this photo around the world.

Michael Jordan Waves Good-By After Final Professional Game (April 2003)

One of my most widely published photos, this records one of history’s most admired and loved athletes. Having played professionally for the Chicago Bulls (I also photographed his last game in Chicago.), Jordan retired, but returned to play for the Washington Wizards. The day after he retired for good, my picture made the sports pages of most newspapers in the country.

In 1984, upon taking his family to the Los Angeles Summer Olympics, where he snapped hundreds of images, he began to view his hobby differently. “I began to take it more seriously,” he remembers, “enrolling in courses, subscribing to photo magazines, mastering the technical side of the art, and concentrating on capturing what I call the ‘magic moments’ of sporting events.”

One of his teachers was the famed LIFE and Sports Illustrated photographer Bill Eppridge, who became a friend and mentor.

Photo of Michael Philps by Dick Druckman

© 2008 Dick Druckman. All rights reserved.

Michael Philps Wins His First of Eight Gold Metals: Beijing (August 2008)

“Dick had such an intensity to learn,” Eppridge says. “It was obvious he wanted to learn more about what he was already doing very, very well: shooting sports. He wanted to know so much so quickly that he’d turn up everywhere! It wasn’t until a few years later that I found out he was in the corporate world.

Breaking into the sports world is difficult, and Dick’s done an amazing job for someone who wasn’t brought up in that world,” Eppridge goes on to say. “You have to know the players, the coaches, even what the coach is telling the players because you have to be ready for it.”

Photo of Blackhawks Goal Tender Antti Neimi by Dick Druckman

© 2010 Dick Druckman. All rights reserved.

Blackhawks Goal Tender Antti Neimi: Stanley Cup (June 2010)

Unlike the paid photographers scattered along the playing field of any sporting event, Dick snaps from wherever he’s sitting in the stands, making it more difficult to capture those split-second moments, but also making each photo that much more unique.

“In football, for example,” Eppridge continues, “we’d move up and down the field along with the players, but there were always a couple of our guys in the stands. Usually those were the good ones, so they were Dick’s competition. But he just focused 100 percent and managed to take that position and turn it into something extraordinary.”

Druckman tries to capture the most significant moment in any event, which demands that he understands the nuances of both the camera and the sport. Consequently, he says, my efforts are focused on baseball, football, basketball, soccer, hockey, squash, and the Olympics. I rarely cover tennis, golf or car/horse racing.

Photo of Mariana Annissina and Gwendal Peizerat by Dick Druckman 
© 2002 Dick Druckman. All rights reserved.

Scandal in Salt Lake City, Utah
Mariana Annissina and
Gwendal Peizerat (February 2002)

 Photo of David Beckham by Dick Druckman

© 2007 Dick Druckman. All rights reserved.

Los Angeles Galaxy Midfielder
David Beckham (2007)

In 2001, Dick retired after 35 years at BMS to follow his passion full time. Within a year, he’d opened a gallery and his photos were still making the pages of some of the world’s most prestigious sports publications.

He pays for his own seats, working through a network of brokers and contacts to get the best ticket in the house, and more often than not gets a front row seat. “It’s not cheap,” he says, spending thousands each year, but he says, sales allow him to break even. And, he considers himself fortunate to travel the world (next year he heads to London for the Summer Olympics); sharing his experiences with is loving wife of almost 49 years, although it’s not always so glamorous.

As he tells it, “Joanie got up at 4 a.m. and stood with me for 11 hours in the pouring rain on the Champs Elysees waiting for Lance Armstrong to whoosh by upon winning his seventh consecutive Tour de France. But it was worth it. As he passed us, he glanced at me and I snapped the picture. Today it is one of our best sellers.”

Photo of Lance Armstrong at Tour De France by Dick Druckman

© 2005 Dick Druckman. All rights reserved.

© 2008 Dick Druckman. All rights reserved.

Lance Armstrong Wins His Seventh Consecutive Tour De France
(February 2005)

Joanie and I waited 11 hours in the pouring rain to capture this historic sports moment. After the race, Lance took a victory lap around the Champs-Elysees and passed where I was waiting for him. He looked directly at me for a second, which I captured in this photo. This photo is one of three best sellers at Gold Medal Impressions Gallery.

Catch of the Century by New York Giants David Tyree Super Bowl 42
(February 2008)

With under two minutes left in the game and trailing by four points, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning heaved a long desperation pass to wide receiver David Tyree who miraculously caught it on top of his helmet as he fell to the ground still holding the ball. The Giants went on to score and win the game and Super Bowl. I captured this catch along with many other photographers including one whose photo made the cover of Sports Illustrated. My photo is remarkably identical to the SI photo and hangs prominently in our gallery.

In walking the many rooms of Gold Medal Impressions Gallery one can feel the excitement of each event emitting from each photo, and Dick is right along side ensuring that visitors hear some of the incredible stories that accompany each one. From the “Batter Up!” baseball room, to the Phillies, Red Sox, Yankees, and Mets corners, to a group of “first pitch” shots, opening day at the new Yankee Stadium, and stunning moments from the last 10 Olympics, each photo is beautifully framed and placed.

At a hearty 72, Dick is outgoing, heartwarming, and endearing and has an attention-grabbing story to tell with every photo, such as the seventh game of the Red Sox-Yankees final playoff game in 2003 when he found himself seated next to Yankee manager Joe Torre’s wife. When Yankee Aaron Boone hit a home run to win the game, every camera lens was on the field–except Druckman’s. He caught a close-up of a teary-eyed Torre hugging his wife. That was the photo that went around the world.

Photo of Denver Bronco's quarterback Brian Griese by Dick Druckman

© 2002 Dick Druckman. All rights reserved.

Denver Broncos Quarterback Brian Griese (2002)

Dick’s also a great humanitarian, working with many charities and takes special delight in treating young cancer patients to a front row seat at the World Series and the All Star Games.

Trinity went on to beat Princeton that rivalry day and two weeks later, was victorious over Yale to capture its 13th consecutive national championship. “It will be hard to do it again,” Dick laments.  “The Ivy Leagues have caught on, peppering their teams with international stars just as Trinity has done for the past decade.”

Photo of Trinity Squash Team Member Chris Binnie by Dick Druckman
© 2011 Dick Druckman. All rights reserved.

Trinity Squash Team Member Chris Binnie Scores Winning Point (February 2011)

But victory for Dick Druckman has been sweet, regardless. He not only captured the ultimate “magic moment” with Trinity’s 13th Consecutive National Title, a photo of Trinity’s historic win used by Associated Press, but he also plans to continue in his photography career for a long time to come.

by Verdanana Francisco

All written content (and most images) in these articles are copyrighted by the authors. Copyrighted material from Apogee Photo Mag should not be used elsewhere without seeking the authors permission.

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