Neil Leifer, 50 years ago.
Neil definitely had some strong habits that made for a lot of great shots like these:
1. At least in these, he filled the frame with the subject as much as possible; any extra background etc contributed to the composition or else it was not there.
2. He caught some great action but he also caught the personalities and emotions of the subjects.
3. He realized that sports shots are not just about the action taking place on the field, but the people who play the games even when they aren't playing.
Good summary of what made him such a special shooter. He told a story once about how he borrowed a few hundred from his father to buy his first camera, a Nikon, and made the money back in a week. His father was dumbfounded. Leifer took off from there. And sometimes, like the shot of Clay, who had not yet changed his name, standing over Liston, he was just lucky. His fellow shooter appears between Clay's legs. Just bad luck for him.
One of my favorites was the overhead shot of the boxer walking to a neutral corner while his opponent was on the canvas. After that was published pretty much every other shooter wanted to mount a camera over the ring. He was a game changer.
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