In the world of newspaper photographers, you'd be hard to find someone consistently making more exciting and interesting portraits than Jay L. Clendenin. You might have seen his Land Camera Polaroid images from the Toronto International Film Festival, or his 4x5 black and white/digital color diptychs of California Olympians. For this year's Olympics, he decided to go even bigger and bring out his 8x10 Tachihara view camera to capture some amazing photos of American athletes.
Because of the immense expense of shooting, processing, and scanning 8x10 film, Clendenin loads his film holders with photo paper, develops them in his bathroom/darkroom, and scans them on a flatbed before inverting the negative image in Photoshop. You can watch a video and read about his experience shooting these portraits in an article he wrote for the Los Angeles Times.
As anyone who has shot a large-format camera knows, it's a tedious process that takes time and patience, two things that celebrity athletes might be running short of. But Clendenin is an artist, and he knows as well as the viewer does that the outcome is worth the effort.
The images range from haunting to stoic, and while there are thousands of images being made of these Olympians this summer, it's likely that Clendenin's will be those remembered most.
All images used with permission of Jay L. Clendenin.