Children play baseball in the street

Walter Iooss (American, born 1943). Havana, Cuba, March 1998. Archival pigment print. Gift of Kurt Olender.

Walter Iooss was just 16 years old when he photographed his first sporting event. In 1959, his father, a jazz musician and amateur photographer, purchased season tickets for the New York Giants, whose home games were played in Yankee Stadium. There, Iooss shot his first roll of film with his father's 300 mm lens. He became, as he says, “consumed by sports and form.”

Between his junior and senior year of high school, he took an introductory photography course at the Germain School of Photography in Manhattan, where he learned to process film. Still in his teens, he wrote Sports Illustrated expressing his interest in sports photography, primarily baseball. Improbably, the magazine hired him, and he had his first cover by age 19. He, along with his equally precocious rival Neil Leifer, became the most prolific sports photographers of 20th- and 21st-century American sports.
Athletes have provided Iooss with a provocative and enduring body of work; from his early photographs of Hank Aaron gracing the diamond, to his portfolios of Michael Jordan both on the court and at home, to portraits of golf prodigy Jordan Spieth, basketball all-star LeBron James, and baseball legend Derek Jeter. While his early photography captured the tension of the game, his current work focuses on portraiture—posed images taken in the studio that bring out the charisma, turmoil, joy, and humanity of the heroes of sport.
This small exhibition features photographs from the Carlos Museum’s permanent collection of Works on Paper and images from private collections.


Virtual Exhibition