TWO PHOTOSPHOTOGRAPHS BY BILL EPPRIDGEPORTRAIT OF EPPRIDGE BY JERRY COOKE SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
Bill Eppridge 1938--2013 Bill Eppridge (above, at the 1980 Olympics, in Lake Placid) was a photojournalism student at Missouri when his picture of a white horse in a field took first place in a national photo contest. His prize was an internship at LIFE magazine, but the winner was LIFE. Eppridge, who died last week, began shooting for the magazine in the early '60s, and joined SI a decade later. He created countless memorable images of his time, including shots of Woodstock and Vietnam, the civil rights movement and New York City's Needle Park, the Beatles and the Bears (like linebacker Dick Butkus, left).
PHOTOPHOTOGRAPH BY BILL EPPRIDGE
In Sharp Focus Eppridge brought his subjects, like boxer Ken Norton (here working a speed bag in 1978), closer to us, and he sometimes grew especially close to his subjects. He became friends with Robert Kennedy while covering the senator's presidential campaign, and his most haunting photo is of a busboy kneeling beside Kennedy as he lay dying in Los Angeles's Ambassador Hotel in 1968. Says Steve Fine, former SI director of photography, "The most important lesson Bill taught us was: Do not leave home without a camera; you might see something you've never seen before."
EIGHT PHOTOSPHOTOGRAPHS BY BILL EPPRIDGE
A Very Wide Angle There is not a sport that Eppridge did not cover for SI, and his versatility and prowess were admired by his peers. Says another legendary SI photographer, Heinz Kluetmeier, "Bill would stand next to you and take a completely different picture than you did." Eppridge had a passion for documenting life as he saw it, and he saw plenty of life. "Bill was just an incredibly curious person who happened to have a camera," says SI's director of photography Brad Smith. "Anything he shot, it was as if he had discovered fire." Some Eppridge "snaps," as he called them: (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT) Patrick Ewing graduates from Georgetown in 1985; Greg Louganis soars in 1980; Billie Jean King swings in 1977; Jamaican bobsledders career in Calgary in 1988; elephants score in Thailand in 1988; Jack Nicklaus marches in 1977 at Pebble Beach; Bobby Hull shoots in 1966; America 3 sails in 1992.