Photographer Tells of How He Faked His Way Into Epic Career as Official MSG Shooter

Photographer Tells of How He Faked His Way Into Epic Career as Official MSG Shooter

"Fake it 'til you make it" may seem like an empty slogan aimed at unqualified job seekers, but that's exactly how photographer George Kalinsky began a career that saw him photograph the likes of Muhammad Ali, the Pope, and Frank Sinatra.

In an article in the New York Post, Kalinsky tells the stories behind some of his most iconic shots, including the time he lied to Ali's trainer to get the champ to agree to a photo session. When Angelo Dundee tried to charge Kalinsky a dollar for the privilege of shooting one of history's most famous athletes, Kalinsky told the trainer he was the photographer for Madison Square Garden.

In fact, he was not the photographer for Madison Square Garden at the time, but the photos he captured through the fib eventually did help him land a gig as the official photographer of "the world's most famous arena." He has now held the job for 50 years and has photographed some of the arena's most historic events, including Elvis' only performance there. Kalinsky also served as a photographer for the New York Mets and captured the famous image of pitcher Jesse Orosco dropping to his knees in celebration as the Mets completed their World Series victory in 1986.

The New-York Historical Society is exhibiting more than 70 of Kalinsky's most famous photographs in the upcoming show, “New York Through the Lens of George Kalinsky,” which runs February 2 to June 3.

Lead image used with permission by Jason Paris.

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3 Comments

Samuel Flores Sanchez's picture

I saw some time ago that same article made presentation for B&H. Is fantastic!!!! 50 years! what a ride!!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08TBjn0eVyQ

There's a similar story (but more of a one-time event vs. a career if I'm right) about a 17 or 18 year old capturing the Beatles at Shea Stadium. He was trying to get closer to the band and his wanderings got him in their official quarters. When the authorities told him he had to leave, he decided on the spur of the moment to use his best fake British accent to say he was with the band to take photos and was lost, and they end up escorting him onto the field directly to the stage. Meanwhile, because of his right-there proximity, the Beatles thought he was with Shea Stadium, so they gave him all the right smiles and poses.

He looks like an older Joe Edelman