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Howard Bingham: Photographs by Mohamed Ali's photographer of 40 years

6/04/2016 ISO 1200 Magazine 0 Comments

1. Photo of young Muhammad Ali with hands on face
2. Photo of Ali with hands on head
3. Photo of Ali gesturing
4. Photos of Ali reading magazine
5. SOUNDBITE: (English) Howard Bingham, Muhammad Ali friend and photographer
"It's been wonderful. 'Been all around the world with him. I really cannot say, words cannot explain the feelings and the gratification that it's been."
6. Photo of Ali with punching bag
7. Photo of Ali in car
8. Photos of Ali with children
9. SOUNDBITE: (English) Howard Bingham, Muhammad Ali friend and photographer
"I learned from him over forty years, you know, know, he's a very giving individual. And he doesn't care for himself, he cares for others."
10. Photo of Ali with child
11. Photo of Ali in ring
12. Photo of tired Ali
13. Photo of Ali jumping rope
14. SOUNDBITE: (English) Howard Bingham, Muhammad Ali friend and photographer
"He was not paying me as a photographer. I'm his friend, I happen to be a photographer."
15. Photo of Ali being punched by George Foreman
16. Photos of Ali against ropes
17. Photo of Ali at end of fight with Foreman on mat
18. SOUNDBITE: (English) Howard Bingham, Muhammad Ali friend and photographer
"He is a pretty good looking guy, and women over the years have really loved him, even now. I think he is the prettiest."
19. Photo of Ali with paper


In the 40 years they have known each other, Howard Bingham figures he has taken 1 million shots of his friend, the former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali.

In Bingham's photos, Ali is at work, perspiration beading on his toned body, at play, hamming it up with friends and fans, and at rest.

The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC opened an exhibition on Saturday of 123 color and black-and-white photos that Bingham shot in Zaire in September and October 1974, around the time of Ali's legendary fight with George Foreman.

It was the first major sporting or cultural event in a black African country, Bingham says, and it was intended to put Zaire on display to the world.

Some photos feature President Mobutu Sese Seko, who was ousted in a 1997 rebellion and died the same year, but they mainly the focus is on the irrepressible Ali, who just turned 60 and suffers from Parkinson's Syndrome. 

Some of Ali's supporters feared for his safety in the ring, but Ali never displayed a lack of confidence, Bingham said. 

To emphasize that point, the exhibit includes some of the champ's couplets, including this one: "You think the world was shocked when Nixon resigned? Wait 'til I whip George Foreman's behind."
Bingham, 62, wears a gold ring Ali had made for him with the letters A-L-I written in diamonds across its face. 

They met in 1962 when Bingham was on assignment for a local newspaper and Ali was in town for a fight.

Text, images and video via AP Archive

I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.' Muhammad Ali

Rest in peace

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