About Me

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Orlando, FL, United States
Gary Bogdon is a commercial photographer, director and master story teller living in Orlando, FL. He is a regular contributing photographer for Sports Illustrated, ESPN and a diverse set of commercial clients.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


This week's ESPN The Magazine (June 13, 2011) is "The Photo Issue," in which hand-picked photographers were dispatched to sporting events around the world to capture what was happening in sports on one given day-- Saturday May 7, 2011. When I got the call for the assignment , I thought to myself, wait a minute, that's Derby day!
The Kentucky Derby is one of my favorite sporting events — and nearest to my heart (and that's saying a lot for me). ESPN senior photo editor Jim Surber wanted me to approach the assignment in a documentary style, and look for behind the scene moments that make a more interesting story on such a grand event. It was wide open for me to be as creative as I wanted, and go for something different. I was thrilled to be chosen to cover this amazing sporting event in the town where I grew up. Although it was my 29th year of shooting the Derby , I've never lost the excitement of immersing myself in the experience and joy of the biggest spring race at Churchill Downs. While other photographers were documenting tennis in Madrid, bowling in Istanbul, soccer in Manchester and NBA playoffs in Memphis, I started my day at the track before dawn. I began my day capturing pre-dawn workouts and a magnificent deep blue sky behind the iconic twin spires — then there was the beauty of the thoroughbreds, and endless women in hats. One of my favorite things to document is the jockey's experience — their behaviors both before, during and after the race — and all of the facets of one of the world's most unique occupations. I finished up around 8 pm when the roses from the winner's circle were strewn on the ground. A long day, but I loved every minute of it, and it yielded great images. Two are included in the issue, now on newsstands, including a shot of the jockeys coming down the escalator on their way to the paddock and one of my personal favorite moments, the bugler getting warmed up for his "Call to the Post" that still makes my heart pound every time I hear it.

Thanks to Jim and ESPN Magazine for giving me this opportunity and to the folks at Churchill Downs for the amazing access. There was no place in the world I'd rather have been on May 7th 2011 than Churchill Downs in 'my' old Kentucky home. Here are some of my favorite images that were not in the magazine.
Look for the ESPN 'Photo Issue' on newsstands or go to the gallery of all the images included in the story from that day at http://espn.go.com/espn/thelife/photos/gallery/_/id/6609922/a-day-life-sports#/4/

Riders up!

Gary Bogdon

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Just returned from visiting Indiana University, ('86 BA ) speaking with IU photo students, critiquing their portfolios, and also participating on a discussion panel.
"Sports in Focus: The view from America's top photojournalists" , ( with the legendary Rich Clarkson and Getty Images Elsa Garrison ) was hosted by the National Sports Journalism Center at IU. It was terrific going back to the IU campus in Bloomington, seeing old friends, and meeting the new photojournalism students, with a stop or two at a few favorite hangouts from my college days. It was also an honor to be on the panel with Rich Clarkson, who was named one of the 50 most important figures in American photography by American Photo magazine and the very talented Elsa Garrison from Getty Images. If you're looking for a fantastic college experience (for yourself or your kids ) consider Indiana University , it's a place that's always been special to me, and IU enabled me to launch my career as a photojournalist.
Here's a link to the story: http://journalism.indiana.edu/news/sports-photographers-share-views-of-industry/

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I had the fortunate opportunity to shoot the billboards and print ads again this year for the super popular television show 'Ice Road Truckers- Season 4' ( on HISTORY network ) . The first billboard went up in NYC ( near Madison Square Garden ) on the side of 20 story building, which was awesome to watch being painted. During the shoot, the temps were hovering in the lower teens, with blowing snow and howling winds on the side of the mountain while we were working , but great fun, and a fantastic crew to work with. I had to break out every piece of Gortex weather gear I own and still needed more . But, it's amazing to work with such a talented crew ( both the red camera production team and the drivers ) and see it all come together. If you've not seen the show on television ( over 3 million viewers ) check it out.
Here's a link to the show which airs Sunday nights at 9pm eastern time-

Friday, March 12, 2010


I shot my first Super Bowl ( Super Bowl XXIII ) on Jan, 22, 1989 at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, FL for the Orlando Sentinel when I was a 28 years old. Over 20 years later, and I'm back in Miami for Super Bowl XLIV, this time working for Sports Illustrated.
In 1989 , 49'ers Joe Montana was throwing to Jerry Rice, and the Bengals were doing the 'Icky' shuffle . There were no digital camera's to capture those momemts, just old school film cameras. In 2010, Drew Brees battled against Peyton Manning, for an exciting shootout . In '89, rioting on the streets of Miami's Liberty City had broken out a few nights before the game, and in 2010, sniper teams from the FBI and Miami Dade Police Dept., were stationed up high in the stadium as a precaution against any terrorist threats. Some things in Miami never change, but I love Miami , and it's a great location for the Super Bowl.
As part of the SI team of 12 photographers and editors , I was assigned a special position high in the endzone (shooting with a wide lens, and also a 600mm lens ) to try and get something unique from the game. SI Director of Photography Steve Fine, and I walked up to my position ( which was standing right next to one of the Miami-Dade snipers ) before the game to scope it out, and we loved the angle.
I ended up with a two-page opening 'Leading Off ' in the magazine that week, from the opening play of the second half. Trailing 10-6 at half, the Saints shocked the Colts by starting the third quarter with an onside kick, which they recovered., and the rest of the game is Saints history. My photograph of this play (which reminded me of the vibrating tabletop football game my brothers and I played in the 70's ) is what made it into the magazine.
It was great shooting my 8th Super Bowl, but being a part of the Sports Illustrated photo team with legends Walter Iooss, Jr. and Heinz Kluetmeier ( as well as Fine, Bonenfant, Choat, Bruty, Biever, Bergman, Iacano, Juliano, McDonough, Miller, Rasco, Rosato, Strohmeyer, Tielemans ) made it so much more memorable. And a special 'Shout Out' to our great 'runners', we couldn't do it without you all.
Can't wait for Dallas in 2011 !

Sunday, September 6, 2009

My Creative Force

I've had a lot of great comments about my new website (www.garybogdon.com ) , and I just wanted to give a Big Thank You to the creative person behind it all. My wife, Santa Bogdon is the creative force behind me and my website. She is such a talented creative designer, and we have worked together as a team over the years on many projects ( from back in the day at Florida Magazine, and Caribbean Travel & Life to our current collaborations ) and then to the process of this website. I always found editing my own images to be very difficult, but I had to look no further for a great photo editor than her. She can really edit photography with the best of them , and create the proper flow of images that really makes it all come together so nicely. After the hard part of editing, her talent really rises to the top by coming up with a great look, design and feel of any project she works on. Her business ( www.santabogdondesign.com ) has taken off as well with several new big projects in the works, while others are in the completion process. You should take a look at some of her work on her website.
From her early days of working as an art director for Hallmark to years of experience on editorial magazines, Santa's knowledge of the design process from start to finish is the best. Her creative vision is very inspiring. Not to mention what a terrific wife and mother she is to our two boys ! If you have never met Santa, (either on a personal or professional level) you should, because you will be impressed and walk away with a smile and a new friend. If you're really lucky, she'll tell you the story of how she got her name ' Santa ' by her parents, who also knew that she was special. Personally, I feel very lucky, and so do our boys.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009


It's playoff basketball time here in Orlando, FL.  The Magic have not been this far in the playoffs since their run with Shaq back in 1995, but it feels fantastic.  The intensity and pressure on the court to win increases with each game.  I was shooting the Eastern Conference Finals Game 6 between Orlando and the Cleveland Cavs- the matchup between Lebron James and Dwight Howard, when Lebron comes flying into me (on the lower left) and the other photographers on the sidelines. No injuries to anyone, but when a 6' 8" 270 lb athlete comes flying into the spot where you are sitting , there is not much you can do but hang on.  Just wanted to thank the Cleveland Plain Dealer photographer Josh Gunter, for making this frame, that shows The King and I on the court.  Many years ago, when Shaquille O'Neal was playing for the Magic, he did one of those 'second base' slides right into my lap, on national television. We were both ok, but when he got up, I realized I was soaking wet, from his sweat ... nasty stuff.   
Since switching back to Nikon gear ( I shot Nikon gear from up until 1996 then switched to Canon until 2008 ) it makes shooting action in low light situations ( like the Amway Arena ) so much better.  The quality of the image, even at such high iso as 4,000 is unreal.  The last time the Magic were in the NBA Finals I was shooting Fuji color negative film ( on strobes here in Orlando ) and their 'High Speed' 800 film on the road for available light situations.  Some things change ( from film to digital ) and some things stay the same ( Superman taking the Magic to the Finals).  Check my website for some of the action- www.garybogdon.com