See David Burnett’s ‘Man Without Gravity’ Exhibit at Anastasia Photo

Posted on: July 14th, 2016 at 9:36 am by

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Ski Jump. Park City, Utah, USA, February 2002. Photo: ©David Burnett.

Forget for a moment about the scandal-ridden upcoming Rio Olympics. Back at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, a lot of attendees and especially the press noticed a man who was running around lugging an odd camera. A very large odd camera.

This was no ordinary man, and no ordinary camera.

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Women’s Platform Diving. Barcelona, Spain, August 1992. Photo: ©David Burnett.

David Burnett, legendary photographer of nearly 50 years, has covered wars, revolutions, presidents, space shuttle launches and, yes, Bob Marley. He’s also been documenting the Olympic Summer Games since 1984. For the last number of Games, he has been using, among other photo equipment, a 1940s Speed Graphic camera – a type of camera wholly unfamiliar to those who have only ever used digital cameras.

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Men’s Platform Diving #1. Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. May 1996. Photo: ©David Burnett.

Burnett started using the 4 x 5 large format camera in 2003 while covering a Senate hearing on the Iraq war. The 30 second exposure time slowed the photography process down quite a bit, which appealed to Burnett, who viewed it as an antidote to the current state of immediate gratification through digital photography. Admiring the work of sports photography of the 1920s, Burnett quickly adopted the Speed Graphic camera into his Olympics work.

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Photo: Sebastian Stange/PH4.

You may not know it, but you’ve probably seen photos of his. Whether you have or haven’t, you should head down the Lower East Side gallery Anastasia Photo to catch “Man Without Gravity,” a new exhibit of some of his most spectacular Olympics images. The show includes photos from Los Angeles, Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London. Breathtaking photos that will, after you absorb the beauty of them, have you asking ‘how the hell did he do that?’

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Anastasia Photo Gallery. Photo: Lori Greenberg.

It’s not in the exhibit, but there’s a tradition dating back to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. When the Games have concluded (and Burnett can put down his unwieldy camera and tripod), after the last track and field event is over and everyone else has left the area, the photographers, Burnett included, dump their gear on the field, and run a victory lap together.

We would love to see some photos of that.

David Burnett “Man Without Gravity” runs until August 14 at Anastasia Photo.

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