October 2, 2023

Arts group

Expert Arts Folks

George Kalinsky’s most loved MSG photos and Corridor of Fame honors

5 min read

The Garden’s official photographer considering that 1966, George Kalinsky will obtain the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s Curt Gowdy Media Award this month. But initial, he takes a shot at some Q&A with Write-up columnist Steve Serby.

Q: What are your leading five pics and why?

A: 1. Elton John and John Lennon: My most important leisure image was taken on Thanksgiving evening in 1974, the night that John Lennon joined Elton John on stage at Madison Square Yard. This was Elton John’s to start with general performance at MSG, and it turned out to be John Lennon’s previous functionality. In taking this photograph I captured one of the really fantastic times in enjoyment record. Lots of a long time afterwards I introduced the picture to Elton John prior to a person of his shows and he was overcome with emotion.

2. Ali and Frazier: Just one fantastic second that intended so substantially to me personally was finding Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali collectively for a photograph shoot, prior to their very first heavyweight title bout — “The Struggle of the Century,” which arguably was the best boxing celebration at any time. I experienced them sparring collectively for my digicam and unexpectedly Frazier strike Ali so tricky he went down. Ali claimed, “Frazier you have a helluva of punch.” Frazier stated to Ali, “That’s the way it is likely to be the night of the fight.”

PH:Michael Sofronski DEREAM JOB Officicial Madison Square Garden photographer George Kalinsky
George Kalinsky has photographed a broad range of topics through his time at The Garden.
Michael Sofronski

3. Elvis: I have taken a lot of legendary pictures in my life and this one particular of Elvis Presley is a single of my favorites. I satisfied Elvis in his dressing room prior to his functionality on June 8, 1972. I shook his hand and he requested what my most loved moment in the Yard was. I seemed at Elvis in his glimmering jumpsuit and I stated “Elvis — ideal now, right here.”

4. Frank Sinatra: I have had a lot of terrific times at the Garden, and a person of my favorites is when Frank Sinatra walked into my workplace. We shook fingers and he reported, “Hi, I’m Frank Sinatra and I hear you are a fantastic photographer. I want you to tell me all you know about images in 5 minutes.” And those people five minutes turned into a life time friendship.

5. Willis Reed: Reed going for walks on the court prior to Sport 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals, surprising the Garden crowd and the Lakers, is possibly a single of the greatest moments in playoffs background. No a person expected Willis to participate in that night time, but Willis informed me that if he experienced to crawl out on his palms and knees to the court to engage in, he would. He realized this may possibly be his only chance to get a championship and nothing was going to cease him. Willis was one of the biggest captains in all of sports activities.

Some of my favourite sporting activities photographs were being captured involving 1969-71 — when the Jets, Mets and Knicks won championships, the Rangers were continuously in the playoffs, and the Ali-Frazier combat transpired. Athletes were starting to be broader cultural icons — Broadway Joe, Tom Fantastic and Clyde were being all born in this era.

Q: What would you have accomplished if you weren’t a photographer?

A: Because I was 4 decades outdated I required to be a creative artist. In time I became a sports and political cartoonist. I also developed the first a few-way baby carriage and auto seat for Bilt Ceremony. So I would have ongoing as a designer or artist experienced I not taken up pictures.

Q: Why has this been such a labor of enjoy for you?

A: The environment of images has given me a vantage place from which to notice how points occur and why points transpire. I have constantly preferred to get shut to these men and women that influence our planet. To have been equipped to seize leaders in sports activities, amusement and politics has been an incredible honor.

Q: What have your subjects explained to you individually about you and your photos?

A: I have been extremely lucky to have numerous of my topics — like Luciano Pavarotti, Bill Russell, Senator Invoice Bradley, Peggy Fleming, and Pope Paul II — inform me how a lot they appreciate my photography. Nothing at all usually takes the spot of my subjects telling me that I took their most loved photograph of them. For me, this is my championship — and I have been blessed to have fairly a few! When Tina Sinatra phone calls me up and claims that, “I just wished you to know that this photograph that you took of my father had the greatest effect on me of any photograph I’ve ever observed of him. You captured his essence like no one particular else has,” I had goose bumps that ended up so substantial.

Q: What do you hope the public states about your pictures?

A: I do not come across it effortless to discuss about myself, but I do hope that men and women know the importance of my get the job done, which has recorded our culture. My shots have captured sizeable times in time, documenting our heritage around a span of 55 decades.

Q: Who are your favourite photographers?

A: Guy Ray, Arnold Newman, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Anthony Causi. I feel Anthony deserves this honor to be with the greatest!

Q: What is the important to capturing a wonderful photo?

A: The important to capturing a fantastic picture is how you approach the style aspects of your image, concentrating on the palms, the eyes, and the mouth. These are the equipment that enable you to seize the emotions of the topic. A photo ought to chat and say what emotions it feels and sends to the viewer.

Q: What would be your information to an aspiring young photographer?

A: My information to photographers just starting out is to study up on standard principles of style and design — understanding the vital style features that make a superior photograph. I can not say enough about the worth of understanding composition and structure.

Q: What is so unique about Madison Sq. Backyard?

A: Madison Square Garden is the spot wherever every single athlete and entertainer needs to perform. Frank Sinatra told me that there is no arena in the planet that has the aura of a terrific championship party at Madison Square Backyard garden. It is the final phase!

Q: Why does this award necessarily mean so a great deal to you?

A: If you are blessed enough to make it to the Hall of Fame, it represents that you have been assumed of by your peers as becoming one particular of the greatest ever at what you do. I often desired to be the greatest at what I do whatever that might be … but in no way experienced a clue l would make it to the promised land … All the hard get the job done and sweat manufactured it worthwhile. … I thank absolutely everyone who in some way assisted me attain this large honor! Specially my spouse June for believing in me.

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