Annenberg Lecture with Jim Colton from Sports Illustrated

Meet Photo Editor Extraordinaire Jim Colton from Sports Illustrated

Last Thursday I made my way over to the Annenberg to meet Jim Colton in person. He’s been named one of the top 100 people in the photography industry and is a widely respected photography professional. People just love this guy and I wanted to hear firsthand what he has to say about his end of the industry namely  sports photography.

I was not going to be disappointed. But before I get into this I ran into photographer Landry Major who is following the Photosecrets blog and who had some coaching with me before. My mission is to educate on the business of photography and smart networking is one of the things I talk about. Let’s just use her and this event as a quick teaching point.

Landry is a sports portrait photographer and her specialty is high end portraits of athletes. She’s been facing a few bumps in the road as there are not many business models currently available that support that type of photography. Landry is represented by Getty Images who invented Sport Plus to accommodate her style images and high end sports portraits. Athletes are celebrities in their own right but the value of an athletes images lies well below a movie celebrity.

Landry read my Noteworthy blog entry about the event and remembered how important networking is for your success. She arrived at the event with one firm goal in her mind which is to meet Jim Colton who is one of the most important people in her industry. She came prepared with a couple of excellent promo pieces in hand and as you can see in this image, she did succeed and met Jim in person and had a brief conversation with him about what she does. In addiiton Jim provided her with the name of yet another person she should contact at Sports Illustrated and Landry walked away from this event with valuable contacts and feeling pretty good.

Now back to the Annenberg and all eyes on Jim Colton. Onne minute into Jim’s lecture it became clear to the audience that he is genuinely interested in photography and as real as they get. We watched the best of Sports Illustrated photography, images that knock your socks off. The packed audience watched in awe when he showed us images from the Olympics. We all gasped when he took us through a series of eight photos that were used by the judges to verify if Michael Phelps did indeed win his eights Olympic gold medal (he did.)

Next, he shows us a presentation of the Sports Illustrated magazine of the future, brought to us by publisher Time, Inc. I admit that when I saw that presentation I had to restrain myself from getting up and jumping up and down yelling, this is it, “this is the future.” If this is what the future of magazine publishing looks like – we are in for a treat. Truly interactive, with a combination of video and photo and I don’t say this lightly – it’s just sexy and exciting.

Jim discussed attitude much like I do, he encouraged photographers to search for opportunity. He states that there will always be a need for content and still photography is here to stay.

After the event in the Q&A the first person to speak up was Todd Bigelow. He went on to discuss what amazing things Jim has done for photography and reiterated that the man at the podium was as good as it was going to be. Clearly Jim has given Todd a helping hand or two along his career. I mention this because I feel that it is important that we remind ourselves that we are not in this industry alone but together and that there is a greater goal to keep in mind. Which is the future of media and images in particular.

Jim closed his amazing and very down to earth lecture by reminding us that the path to life’s happiness is put into two words, to “Give Back.”

After the lecture I ran into Seth Greenberg who is the sports photo editor at Corbis and my former colleague. Great guy, very knowledgeable and  here he is with Landry Major.

Then I waited patiently in line for my turn to speak to Jim. He was nice enough to allow me to introduce what I do further to him and let’s keep our fingers crossed that I’ll be able to interview him soon.

Note from Beate: Please also see coverage on Todd Bigelow’s blog.

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Comments

  1. An interview with Jim Colton would lead to a packed house! I look forward to that one. Good Luck!

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