Read what people are saying about Brennan's photographs!

“I can feel the texture of all the sweat and hard work. I can feel my life.” (Ali had this to say the very first time he saw the now famous '1977' photograph)

Muhammad Ali

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“Michael Brennan’s portrait of Muhammad Ali from 1977 is an extraordinary, historically-significant photograph, and we are thrilled to add it to the Permanent Collection of the National Portrait Gallery"

 

Frank H. Goodyear Associate Curator of Photographs
National Portrait Gallery - Smithsonian Institution.

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“Michael Brennan's iconic 1977 portrait photograph of Muhammad Ali captures something far bigger and deeper than just the beautiful face of a beautiful man.  It is a detailed map of the personal journey of one whose incomparable talents and audacity caused literati to swoon, taught a generation to question authority, and ultimately altered the path of a society which had never before seen a man exactly like him.  For tens of millions of us born as baby boomers, the gradual dissolution of the power portrayed in those features has both embodied and reflected the gradual dissolution of our youth.  To look at him the way he was then is to remember, with joy and sorrow, who we all once were.”

 

Jim Lampley
Boxing commentator, HBO Sports

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 "Anyone who came after Ali had to be aware of what he did for boxing, how he was bigger than the sport and at times seemed bigger than life. I certainly believed that and never more so that when I had the honour of taking over the belt he once wore. Michael Brennan's pictures are brilliant reminders of how it was he came to mean so much to so many different people across the world.  They tell again of his power to lift the spirit of the people, all kinds of people."

 

Lennox Lewis
Former Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion

 

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"Michael Brennan's portraits of Muhammad Ali could only have been taken by an award winning photojournalist, somebody trained and experienced in capturing the revealing moment in any situation. No studio portrait has ever, and maybe could never, encapsulated the unique combination of physical grace and beauty with intense, almost animal power that was Ali in the late seventies. Brennan's portraits go beyond visual representation and evoke the smells and sounds of a fighter, but while sweat and liniment are common to all boxers, the fire in those eyes belongs to just one. Even though they are close-up head shots these images rank among the greatest sports photographs of all time."

 

Peter Howe
Writer, author and former Director of Photography LIFE magazine.

 

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Michael Brennan’s Muhammad Ali - 

"Brennan’s iconic photographs of an icon raised the bar in sports photography. From stunning portraiture to unparalleled informal pictures of Ali working and playing at the peak of his powers constitute an important historical record of the major sporting figure of the 20th century. What one might call a knockout achievement."

 
Bill Hagerty
Chairman, British Journalism Review

 

 

 

October 30, 2014 by Chris Forney
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