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"In addition to graduating from SMC, my father, Jack Mackson, was the assistant track Coach in the 1960s and 1970s. I was one of the "water boys" for the 1964 Corsair championship football team. Corsair Field is where I grew up and the gym – now the 'Pavilion' – was my studio as a budding sports photographer."
Richard Mackson is a long time Santa Monica resident, Sports Illustrated contributing photographer, innovator, entrepreneur, Santa Monica College "Corsair" graduate and Santa Monica High School Hall of Fame member. His photos have appeared on dozens of covers of Sports Illustrated magazines, and he has photographed World Cup Soccer, America’s Cup Yachting, fourteen Olympic Games, Rose Bowls, the Oscars, Kentucky Derbies, NCAA Final Fours, BCS Championships, NBA Championships, Super Bowls, Stanley Cups, World Championship Boxing, and countless other national and international sporting events. Photo District News named one of his pictures from the 1991 World Series one of the 100 best “Sports Shots of the Century.” He considers photographing Backgammon and Turtle Racing to be his most challenging assignments. He retired from the Eastman Kodak Company in 2009 where he was the Director of External Relations and Vice President Office of the CTO. Today in retirement, he is the Senior Contributing Photographer for USA TODAY Sports Images as well as CEO of JLR Ventures and RGM Synovations.
In his days at SMC, the coaching staff allowed a young Mackson access to sporting events, to shoot and to experiment with his lighting designs. Although they knew him through their relationship with his coach father and his presence on campus since boyhood, they clearly recognized his talents. Even the school presidents Wade Thomas and Richard Moore promoted and approved Mackson's experimental shoots.
In the mid-70s, Mackson developed a proprietary lighting scheme in the gym rafters at SMC, which he used to shoot sporting events including a professional volleyball game at the campus. Those photos – run in the school paper as well as the now defunct Santa Monica Evening Outlook – were noted by Sports Illustrated, who asked Mackson to work for the publication.
When Mackson reflects on SMC, it wasn't about learning facts and figures, it was about learning to be a thinker. Santa Monica College provided an environment, faculty and staff that promoted learning across disciplines and encouraged diversity of thought. This theme carried through the evolution of his professional development – a career that lead him from photographer, entrepreneur, and technology innovator to crafting business strategy for Fortune 100 company, Kodak, along the way innovating technological solutions for photographers that have changed the landscape for the photographic industry.
He remembers football coach Jim Powers and Kay Crawford who launched the coronets dance drill. Dr. Dale Ride, Professor of Political Science and Clive Warner who made history interesting, and the very unique Dick Dodge who was one of Mackson's English teachers and year book advisors.
To read more about Mackson, visit http://www.mackson.net
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