Ever since I witnessed Michael Jordan launching himself from the foul line to slam home the NBA’s 1988 dunk contest, I’ve been a huge fan of sports photography – and this is way before I figured out that I had even the slightest bit of passion for photography.
As a child I collected every Sports Illustrated that featured MJ’s high-flying escapades, fixated by the beauty of these images while wondering where they had come from and wishing I could dunk like my idol. With the ability to touch a 10-foot rim by age 14, but unable to draw all that well, I had my mother buy me some tracing paper and colored pencils to create my own images of MJ posterizing some flat-footed sixth man. For hours I would hover over my desk, palms stained with lead and meticulously copy the SI covers, patiently and carefully following each meandering line as though I were a surgeon.
This week I was in childlike awe once again as I discovered Mark J. Rebilas’ website. As a professional sports photographer and son of motorsports photography legend Gil Rebilas, Mark’s images have appeared in ESPN Magazine, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and on the top sports websites in the country.
What I find most fascinating about Mark is not the fact that he’s funny, self-deprecating and able to capture such beautiful images in the blink of an eye, but that he’s so willing to share his experiences with others while working in one of the most competitive fields in photography. Finally, I no longer have to wonder where images like the ones I worshiped as kid come from.
They come from Mark Rebilas.