When people ask me for advice on how to do photography over the years, whether it be colleagues or students that I mentored while at KU, the first piece of advice is always the same thing. When you've finished an assignment and you think you've got everything whatever you do, do not put your camera away.
While working at The University of Kansas our department was in charged of marketing communications/public relations for the university. All the shiny viewbooks, the official social media, brochures, catalogs, electronic pieces...all of it. One thing we would do was cover the sporting events at the school. Our coverage was different than some others for it was our job to show up right before the game and shoot happy students, mascots, kids throwing confetti, singing the KU Alma Matter and that wonderful Rock Chalk Jayhawk chant. That chant truly gives you goosebumps every time you hear it. As a photographer it was never tiring to watch the opposing team standing there before tip-off and listening to the that chant. Allen Fieldhouse is an historic and magical place for sure.
Instead of covering the game in typical fashion, like I did for many years, I decided to cover it differently as sort of a day in the life of a basketball game at the field house. I arrived early and documented the whole process. All the people that make the place run and ready before the game, ticket takers, ushers, security guards, custodians, ESPN, media folks, etc. Instead of spending a couple of hours I spent the day shooting like this. Nobody ask me to do it this way but I thought the people behind the scenes deserved to represented and be shown what they do to make those games a success. It's far too easy to get caught up in the business of marketing a school but not giving credit to those people that really make the place a success. It was a great experience all day which brings us to this shot.
I had finished the assignment, or so I thought, as I had just documented a staggering amount of confetti on the floor with hardly anybody left inside the area. I thought time to pack it up and turned around and noticed this one student still sitting there just peering down to the court. He didn't look sad but he certainly was in deep thought about something. I hoped he was dreaming about his life, his time at KU, his future successes and was soaking in the historic field house feeling the magic that comes from that building. I resisted the urge to go up to him and strike up a conversation instead I quietly raised my camera and snapped this one shot. Out of all the shots from that day this shot, I believe, captures the spirit and quiet hope of a magical place called Allen Fieldhouse. I keep hoping someday I will run into this student and get to thank him for being at the right place the right time.
Don't put that camera in your bag because the best shot may be the last one.