All about The U

This portrait actually goes with a story I wrote for the Northern Star on Northern Illinois linebacker Jordan Delegal.

The story is about his connections to the University of Miami and the Hurricane football team. His late father played for the 1983 national championship team, his grandma worked at the school, and he went to Miami games since the age of three, often meeting historical coaches and players.

I knew as soon as I got to work on the story what I wanted the main portrait of him to be. The Miami “U” he’s displaying has become synonymous with school and I knew I wanted to work it into the photograph.

Putting his face inside the “U” was a natural conclusion.

Unlike a lot of athletes I’ve dealt with Jordan was very hands-on, in a good way. We did a few other poses for the shoot that he had some good ideas for.

The “U” shot was my concept but after the first take he got the idea to turn his father’s national championship ring to face the camera. I think it adds a little more to an already telling photo.

The collaboration was great. I didn’t direct any of his facial expressions, which naturally made things easier.

In the end I thought this conveyed the overall tone of the story better. I think it shows the determination to get where he is today from where he came from.

The story itself turned out to be possibly the best one I’ve ever written. I’ll rank this portrait in the same class as well.

Here’s the link to the Northern Star story.

© 2011 Jerry Burnes/Northern Star

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