“Many people have said to me: ‘You don't take pictures, you make them.’ That's really what photographic illustration is.”
- Ozzie Sweet
OZZIE SWEET (1918–2013)
Ozzie Sweet was an iconic American photographer whose signature style of “photographic illustration,” as he called it, focused on creating the perfect image, not simply capturing it. “Many people have said to me, ‘You don’t take pictures, you make them,’” he told The Boston Globe in 1998, “and that’s really what photographic illustration is.”
Sweet accounted for more than 2,000 magazine cover photographs during his career, but he’s perhaps best known for his Sport magazine covers. Between 1948 and the mid-1960s, he gave fans stunningly detailed, warm, up-close views of the day’s most popular athletes, from Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, and Mickey Mantle to Johnny Unitas, Oscar Robertson, and Paul Hornung.
In addition to the acclaimed sports portraits he created, Sweet is well-known for his cover photographs for Newsweek (including a seminal portrait of Albert Einstein at his Princeton University office) and for his Norman Rockwell-inspired classic Americana themes for such diverse magazines as Time, The Saturday Evening Post, Family Circle, Field & Stream, Cosmopolitan, Boys’ Life, Ebony and hundreds of others.
Sweet’s photography also has appeared on dozens of book covers, from a series of 18 award-winning wildlife books in the 1970s and 1980s to Tom Brokaw’s The Greatest Generation and Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee. Hundreds of advertisements over the years have featured Sweet photography; Ford, Starcraft Boats, Jeep, Milk-Bone, Kodak, and Stereo Realist are among countless clients who called on Sweet.
JG Autographs Inc. and its creative imprint House of Roulx have exclusively partnered with the Ozzie Sweet Estate, Diane Sweet, and biographer/curator Larry Canale to cement and extend Ozzie's legacy by establishing The Ozzie Sweet Photographic Archive.
“In Ozzie’s lens, people looked happy and wholesome, ballplayers looked heroic and life in general looked sunny.”
- Larry Canale, Author and Biographer
• Professional photographer, active from 1942–2007
• Apprentice to Mount Rushmore sculptor Gutzon Borglum
• Character actor in the Cecil B. DeMille film Reap the Wild Wind, starring John Wayne, along with a number of Hopalong Cassidy movies
• Served in the U.S. Army (Signal Corps and Photo Cadet) during World War II
• Notable photographic portrait subjects included Albert Einstein, Dwight Eisenhower, Grace Kelly, Bob Hope, Ingrid Bergman, Jimmy Durante, and J. Edgar Hoover along with hundreds of top athletes, from Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays to Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, and from Johnny Unitas and Bobby Orr to Oscar Robertson, Jack Nicklaus, and Rocky Marciano
• Credited with more than 2,000 magazine cover photographs on a wide variety of titles, including Newsweek, Sport, Sports Illustrated, Time, Look, Saturday Evening Post, Family Circle, Cosmopolitan, Field & Stream, Sports Afield, U.S. Camera, Modern Photography, Family Health, Family Weekly, Parade, American Weekly, Saga, True, and more
• Wrote and published the 1958 book My Camera Pays Off
• Work has been the basis for several sports books, including Mickey Mantle: The Yankee Years and The Boys of Spring: Timeless Portraits from the Grapefruit League, 1947-2005, both written by Larry Canale, and Legends of the Field: The Classic Sports Photography of Ozzie Sweet, written by Steve Wulf
• Published 18 wildlife books, all written with Jack Denton Scott, on various subjects
• Advertising clients included Kodak, Starcraft, Jeep, Ford, and Milk-Bone
• Filled more than 100 calenders and thousands of postcards, posters and other ephemera
• Work has appeared in a number of high-profile galleries, including a presentation at the Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.
• Subject in features published by Vanity Fair, The New York Times and Sports Illustrated
• Interview subject on NBC’s Today Show and ESPN
• Recipient of 2005 Lucie Award, photography’s equivalent of an Oscar or Grammy