Lockport came from six runs down to beat Oak Park 8-6, and Banks headed onto the field to take the “jubilation shot”—the photo of ecstatic teenagers hugging and tumbling and screaming. It’s the shot that goes on page one of tomorrow’s paper and into the photo albums of every player on the team.
But a volunteer from the Illinois High School Association blocked Banks’s way at third base. “She knew who I was and she said, ‘I can’t let you out,’” he says. “I asked why. She said, ‘This is my instruc tion.’” Banks looked around. He spotted the photographer from Visual Image Photo graphy, the firm under contract with the IHSA to take pictures of its major events, heading for the field from the first base side. Banks trotted after him and got his picture.
Banks also calls the jubilation shot the “money shot,” and that’s not just a metaphor. Papers point out that for 100 years they’ve sold copies of their pictures for a nominal rate to readers seeking mementos. Now a lot of papers have digitized the process—their photographers post pictures and readers order them online. An outside company that handled the order and made the print took a cut and Banks and the Southtown split the balance. Banks says his yearly take was something under $2,000.
The revenue stream is pretty small—it didn’t come close to sparing the Southtown its recent drastic economies, merging with the Star papers and laying off a lot of people, Banks included. But visit the Web site of what’s now the SouthtownStar and you’ll see the paper means business. “Welcome to Southland Photo Shoppe,” it says. “Your shopping choices range from traditional prints to T-shirts, mugs, computer mouse pads and other items on which our photos are imprinted.” A simple eight-by-ten is $25.
Check it out here.