The SI Photo Blog on Tumblr: A new way to experience Sports Illustrated’s iconic photography

With the launch of the SI Photo Blog on Tumblr, Sports Illustrated is providing its fans with a new destination for 57 years worth of iconic, award-winning photography. It’s a treasure trove of thousands of photos dating back to the magazine’s birth in 1954; some of the photos are classic, some are funny and some are just plain weird. All of them will be managed and posted by special projects producer Andy Gray (@si_vault). So how did Andy develop this idea?

“It’s something I’ve wanted to do ever since I started a Twitter feed for the SI Vault,” he says. “Whenever I posted photos — especially quirky ones from the 70s and 80s — they got a ton of response. So I started thinking of what I could do to branch out.”

Think of SI’s Tumblr as a social media-powered photo album. Fans are alerted to new photos when they’re posted, get to express their opinions and, if they so choose, re-blog those photos. If Gray’s credentials are any indication, there’s a lot that fans will like about the photos he choose. He was assigned to curate the SI Vault upon its launch in the spring of 2008, at which time he was encouraged to create galleries consisting of selections from SI’s massive catalog.

“Those scavenger hunts for various photos have yielded some great ideas,” Gray says. “Last year I was doing a gallery of rare Tom Brady photos and came across his high school yearbook picture. That got me thinking about other athletes and their yearbook photos, and that turned into one of our five most popular galleries for the year.

“Whenever you create a good gallery, it’ll feel like a viral video. You know what’s going to catch on.”

So what can fans expect from Gray and the Tumblr? The photos he posts will fit into one of three categories: news of the day, this day in history and photos of the day from the SI Snapshot app for Google Chrome. As long as fans continue to ask for and react to SI’s photography, Gray will be happy to provide them with it.

“People who follow me on Twitter tell me I have the best job in the world,” Gray says. “I get to look at great sports photos every day and share them with others to enjoy. It’s not a bad gig at all.”

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