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Moe Johnson Running with Moe

Moe Johnson Running with Moe

Do you purchase the photos taken at the race?

Sunday, April 2, 2023

I was looking through an old scrapbook and came across some photos of runners at various stages of a run. It made me think about what it takes to make a photo stand out from the others and which photos are good enough to make a poster with it. Any photo with you in the picture is always fun to look at. Then the location of the photo can make a difference in whether or not it becomes a classic. Some runners like a photo of a runner out on a country road while others like one in a famous city.

The standard for most newspapers is a photo at the start of the race. This gets the maximum number of runners in the photo and each runner will be looking over the photo to see if they are visible. The other standard is the winning runner crossing the finish line with arms outstretched and a smile on their face. Taking an individual runner out on the course is good if the photographer is in the business of selling race photos to runners after the race. I have a photo I purchased from the Boston Marathon that was not the most flattering of me as a runner but it was from Boston. It was an unusual photo for a me as a runner in that it was taken as I was reaching up to push my glasses up off my nose and the photographer caught the image just as my finger was at nose level. I have to explain to people that I was reaching up to adjust my glasses. The look I get is one of disbelief in my explanation and I am using it as an excuse for the real cause of where my finger is. I bought it anyway since it was a photo of me at the Boston Marathon.

I have two posters of running photos that are at the extreme ends of running photos. The first one shows a runner at the top of a long road out in the country that seems to go for a mile or more. The caption at the top says, “The race is not always to the swift, but to those who keep running.” It is just one lone runner with trees and green fields on each side of the hilly road that made it a photo worth making a poster of. The other one shows a crowd of runners at the finish line with everyone standing under water spraying on them to cool off. There is one runner bending over and throwing up and shows the vomit coming out of his mouth. The caption for this one says, “Run for fun!” Both were worth buying.

I personally like photos of runners in an open country area. Other runners like a photo of a group of runners with a famous building, church, or statue in the background. Several photos have been taken at the New York Marathon with runner’s crossing over a bridge or with a wellknown landmark in the background.

Robert Bermea was the photographer for most of Moe’s Better Half Marathon over the years. He wanted to focus on individual runners or small groups of runners to sell after the race. There are two photos that stand out for the race itself and not an individual runner. One is from the top of the ‘famous’ hill in the race and shows a line of runners coming up the hill and gives a view of what most runners remember about the race. The other one that stands out for me is at mile 6 where there is a steep downhill on the course. Robert was at the bottom of the hill just as a few runners were on the downhill side coming down and there was one more runner at the top of the hill looking down. These two photos seem to catch the image of the race. There are several photos of a small group of runners knowing they were getting their picture taken and all were waving their arms and had big smiles on their face. If you are going to buy a race photo you want to look your best for the scrapbook.

It was fun to glance over the running photos in the scrapbook to bring back memories of the run. One photo has me in full stride coming down a little hill that my sister took of me when I was visiting her in Maine. The background of trees and Maine countryside is appreciated only by me. There are several of running in a race with friends. We are side by side and not really running to win the race but more to just to be part of the race. It was good to recall running with friends that have long since gone on to other jobs or cities in Texas. Taking photos of a race is not something race organizers think about when planning a race. It is most often a request from the photographer to take pictures at the race. But for the runner it is memorable.

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666