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Behind the image: In the photographer's words
Memorable photojournalism is the result of great skill, a practiced eye, anticipation of the moment and, sometimes, luck.
Gazette photographer Christian Murdock, covering the Winter X Games at Buttermilk Mountain in late January, had just staked out a spot to shoot the freestyle snowmobile event when Caleb Moore roared up for a ride. Seconds later, Murdock was the only photographer to capture the dramatic moments when Moore crashed. Days later, what seemed a miraculous shot of survival turned tragic.
Here Murdock explains his emotions in the days since, as his photo has been seen around the world in publications such as Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, USA Today and The Washington Post.
“I was excited when Sports Illustrated contacted me a week ago Monday, wanting to publish my photo of snowmobiler Caleb Moore crashing at the Winter X Games in Aspen,” Murdock said. “It’s nice to know people like your work. Later that day, an editor at The Associated Press called me asking if I had more pictures of Caleb that I could put on the photo wire because he was in a coma. My feelings changed.
“As a photojournalist, I capture many happy moments and, unfortunately, too many sad moments. Caleb nose-dived his sled trying a back flip on the first night of the X Games, but got up and walked away minutes later. I breathed a sigh of relief. I got a good photo and I thought he was going to be all right. Caleb died last Thursday, the day I heard SI ran the picture as a two-page spread. I would give back that photo in a second if Caleb could have his life back.”