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Olympic Photographic Arts at Annenberg Space

David Burnett , Chief Photographer for Contact Press Images, smiled after completing a presentation of his lifetime achievements.  Photo by Max Donner.
Veteran photojournalist David Burnett was the featured speaker at the Annenberg Space for Photography this week. The recently opened education and presentation center is now hosting a weekly lecture series on Thursday nights called IRIS nights. The American Society of Media Photographers co-hosted the August 6 program with Burnett.

David Burnett is now the Chief Photographer for Contact Press Images in New York. He has been recognized for award winning photographic achievements since photographing President John F. Kennedy as a teenager and shared his archives of Presidential photographs with the audience that filled the Annenberg Space Auditorium to capacity.

The versatile photojournalist was also distinguished with the 2008 First Prize by the White House News Photographers’s Association for Best Sports Action Photography. Burnett has chronicled the modern Olympics for decades and shared highlights from his Olympic photography career that added to the Annenberg Space�s current exhibition of best photos from the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

Burnett achieved his success in sports photography with his simple formula for award-winning photojournalism: a combination of skill, a good eye, and lots of hard work.� Burnett prepped for his assignments covering the Olympics by looking for inspiration in earlier sports photography. As he told the IRIS Nights Program audience, �there are always other ways to try to look at sports.�

Burnett, a native of Salt Lake City, shared his experiences in working on a special exhibition for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics called “The Fire Within: Salt Lake 2002.” His signature photos of ski jumpers poised to jump allowed the veteran photographer to become even more expert at seeing and preserving different angles. Other highlights of Burnett�s Olympic Photography career include views of the other photographers in the photo pool as they each take their own unique approach towards capturing a vision of the sporting events and the insider perspective on photographing underwater swimming. He also showed that photojournalists can have a sense of humor, observing that some of his photographs of Olympic Women�s Wrestling competitions reminded him of several parking lots in Los Angeles.

There is more Olympic photography on display at the Annenberg Space for Photography in its current exhibition of �Pictures of the Year International.� Featured photographers of the 2008 Summer Olympics include Jay Clendenin, Vincent LaForet, Ezra Shaw and Robert Gauthier. If this heightens your interest in seeing Olympic Photography from the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games and other modern Olympic events, be sure to visit the archives at the LA84 Foundation in the historic West Adams district and the 2010 exhibition of Olympic Art and Architecture at the Los Angeles Athletic Club next January.

If you would like to acquire original Olympic photography and other collectibles yourself, mark the date September 19 on our calendar. That is the date of the eleventh international fair for collectors of Olympic art and memorabilia. It will be held in Budapest, Hungary. For event details, check events online at www.olympics.org.

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