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Sol Neelman May 14, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Soccer Fans, Oregon 2009

Sol Neelman (b. 1970, USA) is a failed athlete turned sports photographer living in Portland, Oregon. A journalism graduate from the University of Oregon, he began his newspaper career soon after not being selected in the 1994 NBA draft. Three years photographing at a small, community paper in McMinnville, Ore. led to seven years of service at a major metro, The Oregonian. In 2007, he was part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team recognized for Breaking News Reporting. Soon thereafter, he left his staff position at The O to pursue a photo book project on sports culture around the world. His work has appeared in National Geographic, ESPN the Mag, SI, Rolling Stone, People, Newsweek, and TIME.

About the Photograph:

“Frankly, this image is me trying to put my personal spin on a killer photo I saw taken by my good friend Tom Boyd. The Portland Timbers soccer team has a small but fiercely loyal following, known as The Timbers Army. After a home goal, someone will drop a smoke bomb as fans go nuts. My back to the action for the entire game, I simply focused on fans and waited, hoping that the Timbers would score. When they did, the scene was instantly berserk. I love emotion and layers in photos.  While I travel around the globe looking for fun sports, there are also many great photo ops here locally in Oregon. Boyd’s photo of The Timbers Army was so great, it ran as a double-truck in SI this past fall. Inspired, I marked my calendar and attended the next home game. I wasn’t trying to replicate it his photo – not that I could. I just saw potential at a local event and made a point to cover it for myself. I love sports and I love people that love sports.”

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