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Tiger Woods
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Tiger Woods, 2000

Gérard Rancinan

golf portrait Rancinan studio Woods

Un mot sur l'oeuvre

( REF : GRAN002)
In 2000, Sports Illustrated elected Tiger Woods Sportsman of the Year for the second year running. It was a first, and the leading weekly, global sports magazine wanted to mark the occasion by producing a truly original cover photo that would breathe new life into the genre. Their chief of staff chose Gérard Rancinan, based on Steve Fine's advice (their then photography director). Gérard was a regular contributor who seemed ideal and would rise to the occasion. The photo was shot in a studio set up in the player’s hotel in Hawai, where he was playing a tournament.

Le témoignage de Gérard Rancinan

« I was called to New York for a meeting by the magazine’s editorial team, where I had to present my ideas. I had already thought about this idea of getting him to pose in homage to Charlie Chaplin because I could see similarities between the two characters, rising to great heights from nothing. I handed round drawings of my idea and I had even invented a lovely red nose for him. The atmosphere was tense and Steve Fine, their photography director snapped at me « It’s good, it’s funny Gérard, but what else ? » I answered, « Well, nothing else ». The meeting ended like that, in this tense atmosphere. I promised to try other things and to forget the red nose. We went to Hawai, I set up my studio and Tiger appeared with all his entourage. I made the studio out of bounds to everyone except Steve and Tiger and we had one hour.
For the first twenty minutes I just chatted to the champion, and showed him some of my work. He was relaxed and interested. I started shooting. I gave him some hints as to how to put his feet to capture the famous pose, and I even got him to put his baseball cap on sideways for the last three shots. After that I was sure I had the shot and said « Ok, it’s a wrap ». Steve Fine was beside himself : « But Gérard, we still have half an hour left, let’s try something else. », but Tiger was happy and I was sure there was no point, that we wouldn’t get anything better so we left it there. When the photograph landed on the editorial staff desk, it was a hit and a few days later it became one of Sports Illustrated’s all-time, best-selling covers ».

Le choix de Jean-Denis

It is simple and understated. There is no extravagant decor, no amazing accessories. The image works because of the relationship between the photographer and his subject, what the former manages to obtain from the latter thanks to an affinity and trust established within minutes. There are thousands of portraits of this champion taken throughout his incredible career. But this is the one that will remain.