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Auburn grad photographs an Auburn miracle

Shanna Lockwood's photo of the Miracle in Jordan-Hare shot for USA Today is THE photo of the Miracle, worthy of paintings, and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
Auburn grad Shanna Lockwood’s photo of the Miracle in Jordan-Hare shot for USA Today is THE photo of the Miracle.

Miracles happened at Jordan-Hare Stadium last Saturday. For Auburn graduate Shanna Lockwood, one of them was a photograph.

Lockwood is the woman behind the arguably the best image of Auburn wide receiver Ricardo Louis’ improbable catch, resulting in a stunning last-minute victory for the Tigers.  The shot has circulated across multiple media outlets since.

“I think I’m still in shock,” Lockwood said. “I don’t think I quite understand how many people have seen the photo and what it means to people.”

Watching the game again on TV helped Lockwood to see the impact of capturing the Prayer in Jordan-Hare.

“As I’m watching it, I’m feeling the tension all over again even though I know how it ends,” Lockwood said. “I suddenly realize why that image is so important, why that angle happened to be so meaningful. It looked like it was barely going to happen.”

Some may call it skill, but Lockwood attributes the photo to good timing.

“A lot of stuff came together,” Lockwood said. “Some things I can control, but a lot I couldn’t. That’s what makes it addictive, that moments like that could happen.”

Lockwood said watching her friends brag about her picture is just as exciting as seeing it take over the news.

“That’s been the craziest thing, when people are bragging that they know you,” Lockwood said.

As an Auburn undergrad, Lockwood discovered her passion in sports photography by working for the Auburn Glomerata, the university’s yearbook.

“They told me to sign up to take photos for football games,” Lockwood said. “I didn’t know anything about photography at the time. My pictures were terrible at first, but I loved it. It never felt like work to me.”

Lockwood graduated Auburn with a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in technical and professional writing.

Photo by Jerome Miron.
The Rapture in the Aperture: Lockwood in action. Photo by Jerome Miron.

She never expected to fall in love with the camera.

“I ended up doing it throughout graduate school and just fell in love with it,” Lockwood said. “I got to shoot the National Championship, and that’s the moment I knew this is more than just something to put on my list of college activities.”

Shooting the National Championship helped Lockwood land her big break at USA Today Sports Images, where she works as a digital media coordinator.

“A lot of big media was there, including Bob Rosato, who was a photographer at the time,” Lockwood said. “I became friends with every photographer out there because I enjoyed it so much. I expressed an interest in sports media and he was kind enough to allow me to work for USA Today Sports.”

The job has given Lockwood the chance not only to cover the NBA finals and the upcoming Winter Olympics, but also to shoot the Iron Bowl with Rosato, her hero.

Lockwood credits her career to her alma mater.

“It was not my plan at all, but without Auburn, I wouldn’t be here,” Lockwood said. “I wouldn’t have even discovered this passion. I wouldn’t trade it for everything.”

Getting used to life after Auburn has been an adjustment for Lockwood.

“I just graduated in 2011,” Lockwood said. “I’m still back here and I still feel like a student, like I should be going to class.”

How does Lockwood balance her love for Auburn with covering both sides of a football game?

“As much as it’s tough to get pictures of Auburn looking bad, making a mistake – as much as I hate capturing those moments, that’s part of the story,” Lockwood said. “You never know how these things are going to work out.”

Regardless of the Iron Bowl outcome, Lockwood said she’s celebrating her success for now.

“I always wanted to take a really good photo,” Lockwood said. “I’m just enjoying this as long as it lasts.”


Related: There’s already a(nother) painting of Ricardo Louis’ miracle catch to beat Georgia.

Keep Reading:

* Auburn’s Miracle in Jordan-Hare highlighted on Today Show (maybe thanks to an Auburn grad in the control room)
* Miracle in Jordan-Hare shown in Williams-Brice Stadium during South Carolina-Florida game
Bjork wrote a song about Auburn’s “Hey Day”
John Travolta in an Auburn shirt
* The Auburn Eyefuls of 1952
* I Survived the Kopper Kettle Explosion and all I got was this t-shirt

“Cougar Town” star gets Glom’ed
* Auburn-educated astronaut wanted ‘War Eagle’ to be first words on the moon

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