Bruce Ely’s photo illustration gives new meaning to an old basketball cliche about saying that a player who hustles is “all over the court.”
While no player has ever literally been in different places on the floor at the same time, The Oregonian photojournalist’s “The Omnipresent Damon” gave basketball fans a chance to see what that might look like.
Ely’s wide-angle photo illustration shows former Portland Trail Blazers player Damon Stoudamire on the Rose Garden floor dribbling, shooting, passing, defending, blocking out, giving instructions and celebrating — all at the same time.
“(It was) an astonishing piece of work that combines a high degree of preplanning, previsualization, photographic skill and Photoshop expertise,” said the judges.
Although his work with the picture suggests a mastery of Photoshop, Ely admits that he’s not exactly well-versed in illustrating.
“I would have to say the Photoshop work was the most difficult part,” Ely said. “I had never attempted an illustration on the computer. It was a learning experience and was probably why it took me all night to complete the picture.
“Illustrations are difficult. My brain doesn’t work that way, and I really appreciate when someone can pull one off successfully.”
Ely superimposed 18 different shots of Stoudamire, attempting to represent what the soon-departing star had meant to the Trail Blazers.
The photojournalist based “The Omnipresent Damon” on a similar illustration completed by Salt Lake Tribune photographer Trent Nelson of retired Utah Jazz guard John Stockton. While he wasn’t necessarily blazing a brand new trail, Ely was adding a new wrinkle to The Oregonian’s coverage of Portland’s NBA team.
“That was just one day’s solution for the coverage of our NBA team,” Ely said. “We are constantly trying to find new and creative ways of telling the story of the Trail Blazers.”