Take Two®

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

Picture This: Documenting the Los Angeles Dodgers

by Take Two®

Los Angeles Dodgers Yasiel Puig celebrates his walk off home run with teammates against the Cincinnati Reds Sunday, July 28, 2013 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles,California. The Dodgers beat the Reds 1-0. Jon SooHoo/©Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC 2013

Every so often we’ll sit down with photographers and talk about their work in our recurring segment, "Picture This."

This week we talk to longtime Dodgers photographer, Jon Soo Hoo, who has been the official team photographer for the past 28 years.

Unlike the other sports photographers who focus on the field, Soo Hoo often concentrates on activity outside the baselines. He loves to shoot fans catching fouls balls, or missing them, and he has full access to the team whether its in the dugout, the locker room or on the team plane.

"Anybody with a camera can shoot the game action," Soo Hoo said. "But a lot of people are scared to walk up to Tommy Lasorda with a wide angle lens, stick it in his face, and get him to start posing."

It's a job that is a lot of fun, but requires long hours. Soo Hoo usually arrives at the ballpark by 11 in the morning, and often doesn't leave until the wee hours of the next day. Sometimes new players are a little wary of him, at least at first.

"It all starts at spring training," Soo Hoo said. "Once they get to know me, and they realize I'm not 'media', they realize I'm not going to do anything to make them look bad."  

So for instance, if he's shooting around one of the many poker or domino games in the dugout, he's careful.  

"If I see any cash on the table, not like there's ever been any, but if there were any, I would certainly not pick my camera up to shoot it," he said. 

In his almost 30 years with the team, he's followed players from their first day in the show to their retirement from the game. While he loves his job, he admits some seasons, like this winning one, are more fun than others.

Soo Hoo said he considers himself a sports photojournalist, but admits he'd have a hard time being a news photographer.

"At sporting events, you know there are going to be two teams, in these two colored uniforms, and they will be in this area," he said. "There will be an outcome. Somebody's going to win. Somebody's going to lose."

Covering a natural disaster, a war, even a house fire?  That's different.  "I'd be in over my skis at that point," Soo Hoo said.

But what he does know is how to capture the incredible moments of joy and disappointment that are part of baseball.  And while he might not have the same amazing 65-year run with the team that his colleague, Vince Scully's had, he's looking forward to his fourth decade.  And who knows, maybe a fifth.

See more of John Soo Hoo's photos at his official Dodgers Photo Blog.

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