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One of our most popular features is FACES IN THE CROWD, which for 28 years has been saluting outstanding achievers—famous athletes at first, but now all in the outback of sport—local heroes who are admired and nominated by friends, relatives, coaches, sportswriters and others. Our editors make the final selections, and each week half a dozen faces in the crowd become FACES in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.
Until this past September, picking the photos that ran in the section was fairly simple. We'd receive black-and-white pictures with the nominations, sometimes photos from a yearbook or a local paper but more often snapshots from family albums, taken by a doting parent or proud relative. Occasionally we'd have to go back a couple of times to get a print that wasn't too blurry or dated, but there were seldom insuperable difficulties.
In September all that changed when we became an all-color magazine. We needed color photos for our FACES, and, says Deputy Picture Editor Teri Daubner, "The demands of full-color meant we could no longer rely on casual snapshots taken by grandma on the front lawn. We had to be sure the pictures were of professional quality."
Because our regular photographers are usually tied up on more complex jobs, it's impractical to send them out to shoot FACES. Instead, Picture Researcher Sue Maynard tracks down local photographers and asks them to handle the assignments. They're professionals who understand not only our technical requirements, but also such necessary practical matters as deadlines and the importance of getting film to us swiftly and safely.
So far the new system has worked beautifully, and as a salute to all the local pros who have contributed to the colorful new FACES IN THE CROWD, we present the five who produced this week's pictures (page 87), a special PHOTOGS IN THE CROWD.