Sebastian Janikowski,  Placekicker

On Seeing, A Journal. #321

November 5, 2019

ON SEEING, A Journal. “The Shape of the NFL”

I continue to work on my expanding project “THE SHAPE OF THE NFL,” featuring top professional football players, with the goal of showing, dramatically and artistically, how an individual player’s physique uniquely suits the specialized demands of his position.

We have had the great fortune to enlist the help of the talented producer, Alex Darcey, who has a wealth of knowledge about professional football.

With its offensive, defensive and special team divisions, football has a wider range of functions at every position than all other team sports. Ideally, each of these exacting functions require a particular physical structure to perform to peak effect.

For example:  An offensive lineman’s main purpose is to create a wall to protect his quarterback or to open lanes for running backs. Small men need not apply. To do their jobs well, offensive linemen must be very large, often 300 pounds or more, with the power necessary to prevent equally large defenders from breaking through.

On the other side of the line, defensive backs must be lightning quick and able to run backwards and sideways almost as fast as straight ahead.

These images illustrate some of the essential physical attributes for a professional defensive back.

Bryan Scott, DB

I asked Tiki Barber, the retired Pro-Bowl running back for the New York Giants, for his guidance and assistance.

He wrote the following note for inclusion in the letters of invitation sent to many key players.

Tiki Barber, RB

“I’ve had the pleasure and honor of being photographed by Howard Schatz during my professional football career. It was one of the most exciting and fulfilling experiences of my life. We are all physically unique and having an unforgettable photograph made by one of the icons of the industry was remarkably empowering. I hope that you’ll agree to take the journey with him – it’s one that you will never forget.”

I have done a number of photographic sessions with pro players in the past and now I’ll continue, building on these earlier explorations.

Here are a few more images of NFL players who have been to our studio and have inspired me and encouraged me to pursue this creative project.

Adrian Wilson, SS

Robert Porcher, DE

Terrell Owens, WR

Greg Jones, FB

Joe Johnson, DE

Visante Shianco, TE

And, finally, these are some of the NFL players I photographed for ESPN The Magazine.