Time - 100 Photographs - The Most Influential Images of All Time - USA (2019)

(Antfer) #1


So much of great photography is being in the right spot
at the right moment. That was what it was like for sports
illustrated photographer Neil Leifer when he shot per-
haps the greatest sports photo of the century. “I was obvi-
ously in the right seat, but what matters is I didn’t miss,”
he later said. Leifer had taken that ringside spot in Lewis-
ton, Maine, on May 25, 1965, as 23-year-old heavyweight
boxing champion Muhammad Ali squared off against
34-year-old Sonny Liston, the man he’d snatched the title
from the previous year. One minute and 44 seconds into the
first round, Ali’s right fist connected with Liston’s chin and

Liston went down. Leifer snapped the photo of the champ
towering over his vanquished opponent and taunting him,
“Get up and fight, sucker!” Power ful overhead lights and
thick clouds of cigar smoke had turned the ring into the
perfect studio, and Leifer took full advantage. His perfectly
composed image captures Ali radiating the strength and
poetic brashness that made him the nation’s most beloved
and reviled athlete, at a moment when sports, politics and
popular culture were being squarely battered in the tumult
of the ’60s.


Free download pdf