Farrior High Five: The Story Behind the Shot

November 1st, 2008

Farrior High Five: The Story Behind the Shot

Photography is usually an endeavor of observation, but occasionally a photographic moment has emotional significance for the photographer. This is the story behind the shot of James Farrior giving a high five after Super Bowl XL.

The hand that Farrior is about to slap is that of the photographer. It represents the moment that a professional project became a personal moment of triumph shared between the Hero and the author so to speak. It is filled with a small measure of disbelief but a sincere strength of exhilaration over the Super Bowl win.

The story begins before the Super Bowl, when I was trying to find seats for the Super Bowl near the tunnel. No easy task, and an expensive location on top of that.

I had two pairs of tickets. One by the tunnel and one up on the second level. For the sake of karma, I decided to share the tickets with two friends. They got to sit by the tunnel for the first half, and I would sit by the tunnel for the second half. The thought was that either way I wanted to see the players reactions after the game, win or lose. It would be the end of a long photography project that would hinge on one final moment. And the photograph pictured above was the culmination of that moment.

Fast forward two years. My friend, who sat in the seats first, works at a restaurant that is frequented by Steelers players. Over two years, he kept telling James Farrior about the photograph. So much so that Farrior probably thought this photograph was a hoax. But I made a special set of prints for Farrior, and my two friends. I brought the prints to my friend at the restaurant with the hope that Farrior would be willing to autograph three of the four prints. The fourth was a gift to Farrior, who came in to eat dinner after signing a 5-years contract extension with Steelers. Farrior seemed happy with the photograph according to my friend.

Tonight I, had dinner in the same restaurant. And James Farrior was also eating dinner. As I was leaving with my family, James got up, and walked over to thank me personally for the photograph (my friend had no doubt pointed me out as the author of the mysterious photograph). A real class act. I never would have bothered him, but I feel honored that a moment shared by so many has some significance for a few of us. The best part of the evening was when my two year old daughter gave him a high five. Karma has nice way of coming full circle.

Visit the photo gallery for this image.

related article about James Farrior: Ron Cook: No question, Farrior’s the team leader

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