Most of us have experienced missing a breathtaking photographic moment either because we left our cameras at home or in the bag, had the wrong lens or camera settings, or were simply too slow on the draw. Fortunately, for Magnum photographer Thomas Hoepker, such wasn’t the case when boxing legend Muhammad Ali struck a pose for him. It was all in a day’s work for the German lensman who was granted exclusive access to Ali for several weeks in 1966. He talks about the moment in the video below:
When Ali came to him and held out his closed fist, Hoepker was well prepared and managed to capture 3 frames in quick succession. Even more impressive is that, using a manual focus film camera and with little time to adjust, his focus on the fist was spot on. When we look at the photo, we see not just an image of a sports icon. We see two men at the top of their games.
When I looked at the contact sheet, I saw the most important instrument of his trade — his fist. It’s been a very important picture in my career.
Always have your camera ready. You never know when that career-defining shot presents itself.
Like This Article?
Don't Miss The Next One!
Join over 100,000 photographers of all experience levels who receive our free photography tips and articles to stay current: