The K-State football team huddles around Coach Bill Snyder before their practice at the New York Jets Atlantic Health Training Center in Florham Park, New Jersey on December 27, 2010.
The K-State football team huddles around Coach Bill Snyder during a photo shoot for the 2014-15 poster at the Kansas State indoor practice facility in Manhattan, Kansas on February 12, 2014.
Every season, the K-State Athletics Department creates a concept to promote the football team. The theme is used in media guides, posters, print ads, ticket books, websites and social media.
As the staff photographer for the athletics department, I have to illustrate each year’s concept. The theme of the 2014-15 season is “Family” and the idea came from a photo I shot in 2010.
We were in New York City to play Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl but our practices were held at the New York Jets Atlantic Health Training Center in Florham Park, New Jersey. The indoor practice facility is a massive structure that has an observation deck near its 95-foot ceiling. I ascended to the top of the stairwell on the second day of practice so I could get an overall view of the team during their stretching exercises on the field. Suddenly, Coach Bill Snyder called the players together for a brief huddle in the end zone before they started their workout. I shot the image and uploaded to our daily photo gallery never thinking that I would see it again four years later.
K-State’s senior director of fan experience and sales Joni Smoller remembered the image and suggested that we recreate it for the team’s new poster. I worked out the logistics for the shot and organized it with the football team staff. We had the entire team dress in full uniform and pads and meet Coach Snyder at K-State’s indoor practice facility. I climbed up a 60-foot ladder to the video camera platform so I could look straight down at the group. I spoke with the art director by cellphone so he could hear my instructions and make any necessary adjustments to the shot.
The response from the K-State Athletics Department, the football team, and the fans, has been overwhelmingly positive. I am honored that it has become such an iconic image for K-State.