Robert Beck has come a long way. From sleeping on floors to being a schoolteacher shooting surfers on his spare time to a sought-after staff position at Sports Illustrated. But as in most cases, it all started with a guy taking pictures just for the fun of it.
“I’ve been shooting since, let’s say, 1982,” says Robert. “I started taking pictures of surfers for fun back in those days. I was a schoolteacher who surfed a lot. I bought a water housing and did a lot of swimming.
“In October of 1986, I went to Hawaii to shoot the Ironman Triathlon for a small sports stock agency with nothing but my camera gear and an airline ticket. I slept on a friend’s floor the first night after hitchhiking into town from the airport. There were no hotel rooms available. No rental cars. I checked in with the media center the day before the event and found out Sports Illustrated had “hired” me to shoot the race. The perks of being a Sports Illustrated shooter? Gunner’s seat in a helicopter for the start of the race, a jeep with a driver for the rest of the competition and a hotel room! The result of being prepared when thrown into the fire? A double truck table of contents picture which eventually became one of Life Magazine’s Pictures of the Decade. Thirty years later I am still shooting sports … now as a staffer for Sports Illustrated.” (more…)