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Neil Leifer

Neil Leifer

An Eye Trained on the Game


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September 25, 2021 - January 23, 2022

Jeff Koons: Shine

Palazzo Strozzi, Florence

Neil Leifer


Native New Yorker Neil Leifer began photographing sports events as a teenager and he hasn’t put down a camera since. Over 160 of his pictures have appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated and over 40 of his photographs have graced the cover of Time magazine. He has published 15 books, and was one of two principal photographers in TASCHEN’s Tribute to Muhammad Ali, GOAT - Greatest Of All Time. Over the decades Leifer has come to be regarded as the sports photojournalist. His sports photography captures the unique spirit of American recreation and leisure, specifically baseball and American football.

Collating images from The Neil Leifer Picture Collection, TASCHEN’s titles on the photographer, such as Ballet in the Dirt and Guts & Glory, include hundreds of moments from the history of sport. Iconic pictures of well known football and baseball games, portraits of sports stars, and stunning front page shots have been edited together in these publications. Muhammad Ali’s famous Rumble in the Jungle and many of his other heavyweight title fights also feature.

After his career launch as a boy genius and his first cover shot at age 19, Leifer became highly regarded for his innovative techniques that recorded moments of extreme movement and for being an early adopter of color film. In particular, Leifer popularized the use of strip photography, a technique which creates the impression of movement through both time and space - essential to the dramatic representation of football and baseball. Leifer’s sports pictures are also imbued with humility and grace and capture the emotional rollercoaster that fans ride; elation at success, the mourning of failure, and the strange in-between moments that tell a gentler side of both the stars of field and pitch and the crowds that cheer them on.