From its first issue in September of 1946, SPORT magazine, which preceded the debut of Sports Illustrated by eight years, featured the work of the greatest writers and photographers of the post-war era. In particular, SPORT‘s pioneering use of color photography captivated a generation of sports fans, many of whom wallpapered their bedrooms with the full-page photos that were the magazine’s signature item.
After SPORT closed its doors in August 2000, the magazine’s assets were acquired by a Canadian company, Sport Media Enterprises Inc., and in a reversal of the typical trend, an important piece of American culture was transferred to Canada. The core asset was
The SPORT Magazine Archive, comprising more than 200,000 images – everything from color transparencies and black and white negatives, to vintage photographic prints and news photographs – covering the world of sports from the 1920s to the 1990s, with the best work concentrated in the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. The work of SPORT‘s esteemed staff photographers, including Martin Blumenthal, George Heyer, and Kevin Fitzgerald, forms much of the archive, but many thousands of images came from such admired SPORT contributors as David Sutton, Marvin Newman, Curt Gunther, Lawrence Schiller, Malcolm Emmons, Bob Peterson, Fred Kaplan, Neil Leifer, and Calvin Campbell.
SPORT’s accredited photographers had direct access to the superstars of the post-war era and, in many cases, produced stunning color photographs the likes of which do not exist anywhere else. In the course of SPORT’s 54-year history, many thousands of these images were printed on its pages. But tens of thousands of one-of-a-kind images never made it to print and, in fact, have never been published anywhere.
Due to SPORT magazine’s particular focus on superstars, the archive includes significant files on dozens of icons across all the major sports. To name just a few:
Sugar Ray Robinson
In a 1999 appraisal of the archive done by one of the leading North American fine art photography appraisal houses, The SPORT Magazine Archive was described as “among the most significant resources for 20th century photographic images of American sports figures in the world.”
Today, The SPORT Magazine Archive honors the craft of sports photography by reviving these iconic photographs in the form of fine art. Focusing on images that are exquisite and rare, selected works from the copyrighted archive are being released as hand-crafted fine art in limited and open edition series in a way that is intended to bridge the gap between the worlds of sports memorabilia and fine-art photography. In addition, dozens of images from the archive have appeared recently in gallery, museum and stadium exhibitions, as well is in books and several magazines, and even a series of classic sport trading cards.