In HIS 44 years behind the lens, there wasn't much in the way of sports photography that Walter Iooss Jr. hadn't done. He had snapped Super Bowls and supermodels, spent a season with Michael Jordan and gone underwater to shoot swimmer Dara Torres. But until last week's Super Bowl, he had never worked with a digital camera.
Iooss tried the new technology for a simple reason: SI's director of photography, Steve Fine, asked him to as part of Fine's plan to make XXXVII the magazine's first all-digital Super Bowl. Each of the 12 photographers working the game for SI was equipped with a Canon EOS-1D, the only digital camera capable of shooting eight frames per second. Digital cameras also function better than traditional cameras in low-light conditions (a consideration in the second half), eliminate the time and expense involved in film processing and allow images to be edited on a laptop and transmitted to the office in New York City.
In San Diego on Sunday the digital dozen snapped more than 12,000 images. They had all the angles covered, too. Iooss, who with SI's John Biever is one of just five photographers to have worked all 37 Super Bowls, was the only photographer of the 147 credentialed to have behind-the-scenes access to the Bucs all week. He shot strong safety John Lynch and his family frolicking on the beach, rode on a team bus to Qualcomm Stadium and took pictures in the locker room before the game and during halftime.
Iooss spent the game behind the Tampa Bay bench shooting the on-field action and players' reactions while five other SI photographers were spread strategically around the field. The remaining six of them shot from seats in the stands to provide a higher perspective on the action. That strategy paid off last year when photographer John W. McDonough, sitting above the end zone, was in the perfect position to capture New England receiver David Patten's second-quarter touchdown catch. The image appeared on the opening spread of SI's Super Bowl coverage.
Though her paintings and sculptures can be found in museums and in the permanent collection at the Library of Congress, Anita Kunz says it is the illustrations that she does for magazines such as SI, TIME and GQ that give her the most satisfaction. "I enjoy being involved in telling a story, even if it's only visually," says Kunz (self-portrait, right). In this issue she focuses on former Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders (page 64), who inexplicably retired in his prime.