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In the fall of 1942 a young Army corporal stationed at Camp Callan, near San Diego, slipped onto the training grounds during drills and began shooting his fellow soldiers—with a Rolleiflex 120-millimeter camera.
One of the photographs he took that day, a striking black-and-white image of an infantryman with a combat knife clenched between his teeth, landed soon thereafter on the cover of Newsweek. It was the first of nearly 1,800 magazine covers, ranging in subject from Arthur Godfrey to Albert Einstein, that would decorate the career of photographer Ozzie Sweet.
In June of 1947 Sweet created a Newsweek cover shot of Cleveland Indians ace Bob Feller, and a vast new photographic playground was opened to him. Over the next two decades, Sweet captured the athletic heroes of the era on bold oversized color transparencies; in an age of slower film, he pioneered the stylistic technique of "simulated action," which became his trademark. "I'd freeze the frame by freezing the subject," he says. On the following pages, accompanied by Sweet's reminiscences (at the age of 73, he is still happily plying his trade), are some of the memorable images of the 1950s and '60s selected from the Sweet portfolio.
RALPH KINER 1950
ROBERTO CLEMENTE 1967
JIM BROWN 1964
SANDY KOUFAX 1963
MAURY WILLS 1963
WILLIE AND MARGHUERITE MAYS 1957