Often photographsask questions almost as interesting as those they answer. Where, for example,was the cameraman when he took the series of portraits of college swimmingstars in our SPECTACLE this week?
The questionmight be tougher if you weren't looking at him right now, planted in twofathoms of University of Michigan water. Most familiar to SPORTS ILLUSTRATEDreaders as a writer on subjects ranging the spectrum of sport from the Olympicsto cave crawling (SI, Jan. 2, 1956), he is Associate Editor Coles Phinizy, asadept in the use of a camera as a typewriter. This time his assignment calledfor pictures of outstanding swimmers in the forthcoming NCAA championships.Phinizy has what sometimes seems a predestined flair for the unorthodox in theperformance of his duties. This probably went as far as it could go when hecovered a balloon flight and the balloon crashed—the Piccards, Phinizy, cameraand all (SI, Nov. 8, 1954).
Determined on hislatest assignment not to bring back routine pool-edge pictorials, Phinizydecided on the pool-bottom approach. In addition to an uncommon perspective,his photographs owe much of their excellence to the fact that Phinizy is aveteran at the underwater game. And since the day some years ago when hepondered the problem, 210 feet deep in a Florida underwater cave, of makingprehistoric bones which were there look as if they belonged there, he has beenadapting his underwater photo equipment to his own perfectionist standards. Theresult is the special lighting which renders a submarine subject, such as thisweek's swimmers, intelligible to the overland eye.
A lesserphotographic problem remains. Like the one about who wakes the bugler, whophotographs the photographer? In this case it was Doug Fulton of the Ann ArborNews. As Phinizy sank to the bottom of the pool, Fulton rose to the top of thediving platform. Unfortunately, right about here, the supply of photographersran out. Otherwise it's a good bet one would have been hanging from theceiling, true to the traditions of his trade, shooting away at Phinizy andFulton both.