After nearly a month-long hiatus, I am thrilled to publish Ken Jarecke's guest blog post today. You may remember Ken's very popular (it received 133 retweets) first guest post, “A Photographer's Life Is a Juggling Act.” He is a world-renowned photojournalist and a founding member of Contact Press Images. Like before, I urge you read his blog, Mostly True.
As I search my memory, I find there was never a time when I was not a Cornhusker fan.
The awareness of the University of Nebraska’s football team precedes any understanding of the actual game of football itself. Around the age of five or six, when one starts to sort out how geography works. The idea that grandma lives in a different city, but the same state, or that although it looks similar when you cross over the Missouri River you’re really in Iowa, and that there’s a place called Oklahoma which is populated by people who are not to be trusted.
That's how it happened, not that there was much of a choice. Back then, before the internet, or cable TV the only other team you’d hear about was whoever the Cornhuskers were playing that week.
Normally, there’d be two games broadcast during the regular season. One early in the year and the Oklahoma game on the day after Thanksgiving (to decide who won the Big 8 Conference and got to play in the Orange Bowl). When the game wasn’t on TV, you and everyone else in the state would listen to Lyell Bremser’s unique color commentary/play by play broadcast on KFAB. If you walked down the street, into a store, or worked in your yard, you’d hear the game whether you had a radio or not. When the game was on TV, you’d turn down the TV set and try to reconcile Lyell’s interpretation of the game with what your own eyes were telling you.
Often times Lyell’s version would win.
Sunday mornings, before church, before getting dressed, but at some point after Davey and Goliath, a mad dash, sans shoes or socks, would be made to retrieve the Omaha World-Herald from the mailbox. The sports section, its black & white images with player’s names (helpfully?) pasted right on the photos and the infernal white arrow chasing Johnny Rodgers down the field (maybe that’s why he was running so fast) would be studied. Special scrutiny would be reserved for the one or two plays, recorded with the high-capacity Nikon (loaded with fifty feet worth of Tri-X) from the top of the stadium, that would be sequenced across two pages in the middle of the sports section.
Heaven help that photographer if he missed a crucial fumble, or a long touchdown run. Perhaps that’s why the chief photographer would assign himself this duty?
Personal memories of experiences shared by generations of Nebraska fans. Sure, like I said, we didn’t really have a choice. There were no other programs, college or pro which could compete for our attention. Choice or not, a community was built. Someone coined the term “Husker Nation” which works well since we’ve now migrated across the country.
About a year ago, as the historic Big 12 conference was starting to break up (historic for no other reason than being born out of the Big 8), I decided to document the Husker’s final season before they moved on to the Big Ten conference.
The resulting 256 page, 12” x 9 1/2” coffee table book, Husker Game Day 2010 – Farewell Big 12 will be going to press in the second week of October. The book is designed and printed in Omaha. My publishing company, eyeQ Press will continue to take pre-orders until Oct. 11 at the discounted price of $49.95. We’re only printing enough copies to cover retail and direct orders and books will be shipped right after Thanksgiving.
You can see work by me from every Husker game this season at www.eyeQpress.com. There’s a link to the shopping cart on the lower, right-hand side of the page. Or you can just click here to go directly to the shopping cart.
The companion book, which I start shooting this weekend in Madison, Wisconsin will document the Husker’s first season in the Big Ten.
When I started this project, I didn’t think I’d be creating my own publishing company, getting a license with the CLC, or driving over 20,000 miles to the games. My goal was to create the perfect book for myself, or perhaps the fifteen year old me who loved photography and football, and it turned out exactly how I imagined.
I couldn’t have done this without the support of my family. Projects like this keep a person away from home for too long. My beautiful wife Souad keeps our family and home together. I’d be nowhere without her.
Webster Design and Barnhart Press of Omaha have also been very supportive. It’s amazing that one can still produce such a high quality book completely in Nebraska.
Canon Professional Services has been outstanding. If you’re not a member, I would encourage you to become one today.
Be sure to check out the video below where Ken Jarecke goes into even more detail about this incredible, self-assigned project.
Tell us about your Cornhusker Football moment. A play-by-play works or wax nostalgic about what it was like to go to a Nebraska game. Either way, when you comment below, you may win a copy of Ken Jarecke's book, “Farewell Big 12”. Winner chosen on October 7. So, what are you waiting for?