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Seattle Times photographers offer a glimpse into what inspires their best visual reporting.

August 24, 2013 at 9:07 PM

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The hands of the Seahawks


In my five seasons photographing the Seattle Seahawks, I've made many portraits of players.

But my latest portraits took on a slightly different twist: I focused in on the hands -- arguably one of the most important aspects of football athletes. We wanted to take a closer look at their form, and also the role they play for the athletes as they throw, catch, kick, tackle and otherwise do battle with their opponents.

JOHN LOK / THE SEATTLE TIMES

The hands of Seattle Seahawks center Max Unger.

JOHN LOK / THE SEATTLE TIMES

The hands of Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman.

JOHN LOK / THE SEATTLE TIMES

The hands of Seattle Seahawks tight end Sean McGrath.

JOHN LOK / THE SEATTLE TIMES

The hand of Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice.

JOHN LOK / THE SEATTLE TIMES

The hands of Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate.

JOHN LOK / THE SEATTLE TIMES

The hands of Seattle Seahawks punter Jon Ryan.

The great idea came from my photo editor, Danny Gawlowski. NFL reporter Jayson Jenks and I chose players from a variety of positions to get a good mix for the story.

Like I've done in past portrait shoots, I assembled an outdoor studio on the edge of the team's practice field in Renton. Lindsey Wasson, the summer photo intern for The Seattle Times, helped me setup a background of white seamless paper, as well as lighting setup consisting of four studio flash heads.

JOHN LOK / THE SEATTLE TIMES

A view of the lighting setup used to photograph Seattle Seahawks player hands. One Profoto head with 7-inch reflector, on boom, was the main light. The other Profoto head is at camera left and behind the subject, provide a small rimlight (heads powered by Profoto 7b pack). Two Hensel EHT heads, left and right of the background paper, lit the background (heads powered by Hensel Porty 1200 pack). Seattle Times photography intern Lindsey Wasson, seen in photo, assisted in the shoot.

Seahawks officials, who knew of our project, helped us locate and escort each of the six players over to our area once team practice was completed.

As each player arrived, I was amazed at how different each player's hands looked. Some came with tape around their fingers and some were bare. Each definitely showed a character that spoke to the rough and physical nature that is professional football.

LINDSEY WASSON / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Seattle Times staff photographer John Lok, center in hat, positions the hand of Seattle Seahawks tight end Sean McGrath during a photo shoot on Wednesday, August 21, 2013, in Renton, Wash. Waiting behind them are Seahawks players Richard Sherman, center, and Max Unger, left.

LINDSEY WASSON / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Seattle Times staff photographer John Lok positions the hands of Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman during a photo shoot on Wednesday, August 21, 2013, in Renton, Wash.

JOHN LOK / THE SEATTLE TIMES

We wanted to run the image of Sidney Rice's hand true-to-life size in the Sunday newspaper. In order to do that, sports designer Rich Boudet suggested using a relic of newspaper design: the pica pole (a ruler used by printers in the composing room to measure type by picas -- 12 points to the pica, six picas to the inch). The ruler served as a point of reference when it came time to reproduce the image life-size in print.

LINDSEY WASSON / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Seattle Times staff photographer John Lok photographs the hands of Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate during a photo shoot on Wednesday, August 21, 2013, in Renton, Wash.

Read more about the hands of the Seahawks.

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Fun article. All the guys' hands seem so banged up. I am amazed at how long Sidney's... MORE

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