Brad Bradley: The 100-Yr-Outdated Sports activities Photographer


Brad Bradley photographed his first Cotton Bowl in 1948 with a Graflex Velocity Graphic when he was simply 26 years outdated. When he pictures the 87th version of the annual school soccer recreation on January 2, 2023, he shall be 100 years outdated, having turned a century in July 2022.

Bradley has constantly lined 74 Cotton Bowls previous to 2021, which he missed as a result of COVID pandemic. He’s additionally a member of the Cotton Bowl Corridor of Fame.

Brad’s Early Years

James T. “Brad” Bradley has been generally known as Brad ever since he can keep in mind. He was destined to be a farmer earlier than World Struggle II interrupted his plans. After becoming a member of the companies, he ordered components for B-24 bombers within the 92nd Air Depot Group. The tip of the battle noticed Bradley, a Technical Sergeant within the US Military Air Corps, honorably discharged in 1945.

On June 2, 1946, he tied the knot with Betty Laughead, whose father, Jim Laughhead (pronounced Regulationhead), was an expert sports activities photographer because the Thirties. To his credit score, Laughhead even had a LIFE journal cowl of Audie Murphy, essentially the most embellished soldier of WWII, the place his photograph assistant was his daughter Betty.

Bradley began serving to out his father-in-law, who was additionally a photographer for a corporation that constructed B-24 bombers in Fort Price, Texas. This mentorship helped Bradley study the photographic ropes shortly and the 2 grew to become a workforce.

“Most of Brad’s photograph coaching got here on the job with Laughead aside from Kodak sponsored periods specializing in colour pictures and architectural design,” says Floyd Stanley, who’s married to Bradley’s daughter Iris.

“He [Laughead] was a superb instructor,” Bradley tells PetaPixel. “He had persistence with me. One of many issues that I did that I used to be fairly pleased with was not solely did I’ve the accountability of pictures but in addition, he tapped me on the shoulder and stated exit and name on some companies and see if we are able to get some work within the metropolis of Dallas.”

This led to a long-term relationship producing e-newsletter pictures for the Ford Motor meeting plant in Dallas.

March, 2022. Brad Bradley recreates gaining perspective on the motion earlier than bringing a Leica M5 to his eye. Picture by Tim Pugliese.

“Huck ‘n’ Buck” Soccer Images

Motion pictures was not widespread in soccer then, and the duo began the long-lasting “huck ‘n’ buck” motion pose for soccer gamers. This was a way of posing athletes to look as in the event that they had been in motion.

Chicago Bears coaching camp, in all probability early Nineteen Sixties. Shot from the knees on a Velocity Graphic digital camera mounted on an angled metallic body nailed to the sphere, with a pre-fixed focus. Dick Butkus prepares to launch into the long-lasting “Dying Dive” posed motion shot. You possibly can faintly see the chalk mark that Butkus is meant to hit earlier than leaving his ft. © James T. “Brad” Bradley
Dick Butkus gleefully completes the “Dying Dive” posed motion photograph sequence. © James T. “Brad” Bradley

The poses could look contrived by right this moment’s requirements, however even Sports activities Illustrated was operating solely illustrations on its cowl and inside for colour motion photographs in these days.

The “huck ‘n buck” idea started when the photographic duo was taking pictures at Mississippi State, and one of many Bulldogs’ linebackers was having issue getting his footwork proper for a superb “posed” motion pic. The photographers requested him to run laterally whereas crossing his legs and shifting his arms backward and forward.

Progress was solely made after many makes an attempt when a teammate requested the linebacker to do the Hucklebuck Dance, which was all the fad on campuses within the Nineteen Fifties.

Atlanta Falcons spring coaching, 1972. Roosevelt Manning of the Atlanta Falcons follows by means of on the long-lasting “Dying Dive” photograph collection. He may appear like he was having enjoyable – and so they all did, says Brad. This photograph was made right into a life-size cutout and posted within the School Soccer Corridor of Fame “Huck ‘n Buck” exhibit that includes Bradley and Laughead. © James T. “Brad” Bradley
1972 Spring Coaching, Atlanta Falcons. Shot from the knees on a Velocity Graphic digital camera mounted on an angled metallic body nailed to the sphere, with a pre-fixed focus. Roosevelt Manning provides his identify to the scores of athletes who’ve participated within the iconic “Dying Dive” posed motion photograph. © James T. “Brad” Bradley

The trendy which means of the phrase viral was not in use in these days, however in any respect soccer fields, photographers quickly started asking their athletes to come back “Huckin and Buckin.” And an ideal phrase for posed-action pictures was born.

Capturing Sports activities with a Velocity Graphic View Digicam

The Velocity Graphic was a press digital camera — a medium/giant format view digital camera utilized by press photographers within the early to mid-Twentieth century — produced by Graflex in Rochester, New York. The “velocity” within the identify refers back to the most shutter velocity of 1/1000 sec. utilizing the focal airplane shutter.

The digital camera was very sluggish to make use of. Firstly, slit width and spring stress needed to be chosen for the focal airplane shutter. You then needed to insert a movie holder, open the lens shutter, cock the focal airplane shutter, take away the darkish slide in entrance of the movie, focus the digital camera, after which click on the shutter.

Graflex Velocity Graphic David, CC BY-SA 2.0

“You didn’t have a lot depth of subject,” says Bradley. “After all, due to the velocity of the sport, we had to make use of the next [shutter] velocity on the digital camera, and that reduces the depth of subject. So, we needed to anticipate the place the soccer was going to be.

“We shot from the sideline. The one time we had been ever in a unique location was for an finish zone play.”

Brad together with his Velocity Graphic © Tim Pugliese

Modifying Velocity Graphics to Take Roll Movie Holders

One of many issues was utilizing sheet movie in movie holders, which allowed simply two exposures per holder by flipping it after every shot. And photographers must carry a number of preloaded movie holders onto the sphere.

1965 spring coaching, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Colour transparency shot from a hand-held Velocity Graphic digital camera, 90-100mm lens, 100-125 shutter. Quarterback Joe Namath poses for the digital camera – as he nonetheless does right this moment. © James T. “Brad” Bradley
Might 3, 2019, SMU Athletics Corridor of Fame Awards Ceremony, SMU. Brad Bradley is all dressed up as he receives the SMU Athletics Corridor of Fame award. He’s solely the second individual to ever obtain this award, following legendary SMU coach Hayden Fry. Picture by SMU. © Kevin Gaddis Jr

“It was a lot simpler to reload after we began utilizing 90 mm movie that Kodak had,” explains the centenarian. “After all, we needed to get in a darkish room to vary that movie. After Kodak made the 90 mm movie that was precisely 4 x 5, it was potential to make use of it in a Velocity Graphic.

“After we obtained the 90 mm movie, our soccer exercise was a lot simpler than it ever was earlier than. It was only a depressing factor to vary all of the movie holders earlier than… It was sort of like a brand new life for us.

“The Kodak cartridge held about 75 pictures, I imagine. We had a man who repaired our cameras and was additionally good at constructing issues. He drilled holes into the again of our cameras, and we had screws that may maintain the movie cartridge up in opposition to the cameras. We had possibly a dozen of these movie holders and that’s all we wanted.”

Jan. 1, 1971, Texas vs. Notre Dame, Cotton Bowl. Kodak Ektachrome 35 mm slide. Shot from the sideline with a hand-held Leica digital camera (in all probability M2), 90mm lens. Billy Dale (22) can’t escape a Combating Irish tackler as Notre Dame ruins an undefeated season and 30-game successful streak for the Longhorns. Notre Dame 24-11. © James T. “Brad” Bradley
Baltimore Orioles Spring Coaching. Miami, in all probability February 1968. Shot hand-held with a Velocity Graphic digital camera and Kodak 3.5×5 colour transparency movie, 100-150 shutter at in all probability f8. Brooks Robinson, Corridor of Fame third baseman for the Baltimore Orioles poses for the season’s Topps baseball card. Zoom in on the bat and you may learn his signature on the barrel. “I had actual good luck with my focus,” says Brad. © James T. “Brad” Bradley

SMU, Dallas Cowboys, and the NCAA

Bradley and Laughead began with SMU [Southern Methodist University] in 1947 once they obtained the contract to do yearbook footage.

“Our job was to {photograph} the scholar physique,” remembers Bradley. “Up till that point, Laughead had completed sports activities for SMU, primarily soccer. It was a studying expertise for us, and alongside the best way, SMU was having considered one of its finest years in soccer, and although it was a whole lot of work, it was an incredible pleasure to be round at the moment.

“That affiliation has lasted all these years, though we don’t do as a lot work as we as soon as did as a result of they’ve added photographers to their employees.”

November 28, 1968. Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins at Dallas. Shot from the sideline with a hand-held Velocity Graphic digital camera, 90-100mm lens, 5,6 or possibly f8 aperture based mostly on the obvious out there mild and depth of subject, 1/100 shutter, predicted focus prematurely of play, 90mm movie. Jethro Pugh (75) continues to make life troublesome for the Redskins as quarterback Jim Ninowski (11) digs in. Cowboys 29-20. © James T. “Brad” Bradley
Nov. 11, 1965. Browns vs. Cowboys, Dallas Cotton Bowl. Shot from the sideline with a hand-held Velocity Graphic digital camera, 90-100mm lens, f8 or possibly f11 aperture based mostly on the obvious out there mild and depth of subject, 1/100 shutter, predicted focus prematurely of play, 90mm movie. Jim Brown (32) gained 99 yards and the Browns overcame a late Cowboys rally to win 24-17. © James T. “Brad” Bradley

Bradley had a ring-side view of the start of the Dallas Cowboys franchise within the Nineteen Sixties. He has photographed Tex Schram, the unique president and GM of the Dallas Cowboys franchise of the Nationwide Soccer League.

Oct. 21, 2015, SMU Athletic Discussion board, Dallas. A tall order: Brad Bradley greets Shaquille O’Neal after taking VIP pictures at a reception previous the SMU Athletic Discussion board program. Shot with an iPhone digital camera. Picture by James “Jimmy” Bradley 2nd. © James T. “Brad” Bradley
Oct. 11, 1963, Navy vs. SMU, Dallas Cotton Bowl. Shot from the sideline with a hand-held Velocity Graphic digital camera, digital camera mounted flash, 90-100mm lens, doubtless f8 aperture, 1/200 shutter, predicted focus prematurely of play, 4×5 movie. Roger “The Dodger” Staubach works his magic vs. SMU in his Heisman Trophy-winning season, however can’t overcome the Mustangs, 32-28. © James T. “Brad” Bradley

Because the Nationwide Collegiate Athletic Affiliation (NCAA) grew, so did the scope of Bradley’s work.

“Throughout these years, my job was to go to wherever the NCAA had yearly conferences throughout the second week of January, after the bowl video games,” Bradley says. “We went all around the complete nation over a interval of about 7 or 8 years. I’ve by no means loved something greater than all of that as a result of, in that course of, we met those who we had labored with in soccer. […]”

“LSU [Louisiana State University] was primarily chargeable for that [growth]. The athletic director, in about 1954, stated, ‘I wish to contain you extra with Southeast Convention colleges.’ With that, he picked up the telephone and referred to as Auburn, the second college we did after LSU. After that, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida [and more].”

February 19, 2016, Doak Walker Awards Banquet, Dallas. Brad Bradley (middle) instructs Alabama Doak Walker and Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry (standing) as Oklahoma State Doak Walker Legend and Heisman Trophy winner Barry Sanders battles the flu. After sitting for footage with VIPs the earlier evening, Henry acknowledged, “I would like my image taken with THAT man,” motioning towards Brad. Shot with an iPhone digital camera. Picture by James “Jimmy” Bradley 2nd.

Bradley has additionally photographed skilled baseball groups, together with the Cardinals, Cubs, Twins, Braves (Milwaukee), Orioles, Yankees, Purple Sox, Reds, Indians, Tigers, White Sox, Senators (now the Twins), Mets, A’s, Phillies, Angels, Padres, Giants, Pirates, Giants, Dodgers, and Brewers.

The sports activities photographer additionally had an task of photographing President Ronald Reagan at Dallas Love Subject Airport.

An Eyewitness to Integration in Soccer

In 1948, Penn State had two Black gamers – Wally Triplett and Dennie Hoggard.

Triplett grew to become the primary African-American to play within the beforehand segregated Cotton Bowl, though he needed to keep in a separate facility from the remainder of his teammates as a result of no motels within the Dallas space would permit blacks and whites to remain collectively. Triplett scored the ultimate landing in a 13-13 tie with SMU. Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame

“SMU completely had no concern about taking part in the sport,” remembers Bradley. “To me, the climax was, the sport was a tie, and after the sport was over, each groups got here again to SMU and sat right down to dinner on the scholar union. To me, equally [great], was the best way that SMU dealt with Jerry LeVias [first Black player in the Southwest Conference]. I completely loved Jerry, and I believe he considers me a good friend.”

Jan. 1, 1949. Oregon vs. SMU at Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Shot with a hand-held Velocity Graphic digital camera, 90-100mm lens, 5,6 aperture, 1/100 shutter, predicted focus prematurely of play, 4×5 movie. An SMU Mustangs runner (doubtless Kyle Rote) confronts Oregon defenders within the open subject as SMU wins 21-13. © James T. “Brad” Bradley
Oct. 23, 1960, Dallas Cowboys vs. St. Louis Cardinals at St. Louis. Shot from the sideline with a hand-held Velocity Graphic digital camera, 90-100mm lens, 5,6 or possibly f8 aperture based mostly on the obvious out there mild and depth of subject, 100-125 shutter, predicted focus prematurely of play, 4×5 movie. The Cardinals kicker sends the ball by means of, if not into, the road of scrimmage. St. Louis 12-10. © James T. “Brad” Bradley

When USC got here to Alabama in 1970, it was the primary time a totally built-in workforce was taking part in within the state.

“Alabama referred to as me and requested me to come back to the sport,” says Bradley. “I keep in mind particularly that each groups had been on the sphere, and coach Bear Bryant was standing in one of many finish zones.

“I went down there and talked to him a little bit bit. He was at all times pleasant to me anyway. He instructed me he can be glad when the sport was over. I believe he considerably dreaded taking part in the sport. It ended up in such a manner that the Southeastern Convention determined that to be extra aggressive, they needed to recruit Black gamers.”

Age is Only a Quantity, Even When it’s 100

Bradley says he owes his super vitality and power at age 100 to the pleasure of his job.

“I simply felt so good, so constructive, concerning the job that we had been doing that it gave me the braveness to proceed,” says the sports activities shooter. At this time if I’ve a job in pictures, I really feel prefer it must be completed in the very best manner.

“I used to be blessed with vitality and power to endure some components of the sport that had been tiring. I’ve at all times been in a position to relaxation a little bit bit after which get again up and do it once more.”

November 28, 1968, Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins at Dallas. Shot from the again of the tip zone with a hand-held Velocity Graphic digital camera, 90-100mm lens, 5,6 aperture, 1/100 shutter, predicted focus prematurely of play, 90mm movie. Jethro Pugh (75) and George Andrie (66) set their sights on Washington quarterback Jim Ninowski (11). Cowboys 29-20. © James T. “Brad” Bradley
Oct. 30, 1960, St. Louis Colts vs. Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Cotton Bowl. Shot from the sideline with a hand-held Velocity Graphic digital camera, 90-100mm lens, 5,6 aperture based mostly on the obvious out there mild and depth of subject, 100-125 shutter, predicted focus prematurely of play, 4×5 movie. As was the case with a lot of the Cowboys’ inaugural season, Dallas quarterback Eddie LeBaron struggles to search out passing room in opposition to the Cardinals. St. Louis 12-10. © James T. “Brad” Bradley

In 1984 New York Mayor Ed Koch organized a ticker-tape parade honoring triumphant U.S. Olympic athletes with a complete medal tally of 250. Brad walked your complete parade backward as he wished to give attention to the motion constantly.

Oct. 23, 1960. Dallas Cowboys vs. St. Louis Cardinals at St. Louis. Shot with a hand-held Velocity Graphic digital camera, 90-100mm lens, 5.6 or possibly 4 aperture based mostly on the apparently out there mild, 100-125 shutter, predicted focus prematurely of play, 4×5 movie. David Sherer of the Dallas Cowboys punts from deep in his personal territory. St. Louis 12-10. © James T. “Brad” Bradley
Jan. 1, 1949, Oregon vs. SMU, Cotton Bowl. Shot with a hand-held Velocity Graphic digital camera, 90-100mm lens, 5,6 aperture, 1/100 shutter, predicted focus prematurely of play, 4×5 movie, detrimental corrupted with obvious water droplet. Oregon makes an attempt a late-game comeback bid with this landing go, however the SMU operating recreation of Doak Walker and Kyle Rote was an excessive amount of to beat. SMU 21-13. © James T. “Brad” Bradley

Bradley’s first digital digital camera was the Nikon D90, however he didn’t shoot any sports activities pictures with it. His first digital digital camera for work was the Nikon D300S.

“Final yr I did the Cotton Bowl Corridor of Fame induction, shot footage within the press field on the recreation, did SMU Athletic Discussion board, Tate Lecture Sequence, and Doak Walker Award,” says the now digital sports activities photographer.

Brad works a workforce photograph shoot on a blustery day with a Nikon D300 digital camera.

And no, Bradley has not taken up taking pictures pictures with a smartphone… but.


If different photographers nonetheless working at age 100 anyplace on the planet, please let us know as we could also be excited by telling their story.


Concerning the writer: Phil Mistry is a photographer and instructor based mostly in Atlanta, GA. He began one of many first digital digital camera lessons in New York Metropolis at The Worldwide Middle of Images within the 90s. He was the director and instructor for Sony/Widespread Images journal’s Digital Days Workshops. You possibly can attain him right here.


Picture credit: Header photograph (composite) © James T. “Brad” Bradley

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