DENVER (CBS4) – A Denver based photographer who has shot the NCAA Tournament Final Four for the last 60 seasons is making this year his last.

“It’s kind of one of my favorite events,” Rich Clarkson said.

(credit: Rich Clarkson)

(credit: Rich Clarkson)

If a picture is worth a thousand words, Clarkson’s collection would fill libraries. They tell the stories of six decades worth of Final Fours, capturing the moments of perseverance, frustration and victory.

“For me it’s been a really good experience meeting and getting to know so many people,” Clarkson said.

As he prepares to photograph his last, he says this year will likely not disappoint in surprises.

(credit: Rich Clarkson)

(credit: Rich Clarkson)

“Everyone thinks Kentucky has got it locked up this year … not so sure.”

There will be surprises both on the hardwood and off. This week Clarkson will be inducted in to the Basketball Hall of Fame as this year’s recipient of the Curt Gowdy Media Award.

“The gallery this month and next month is all of my pictures of the Final Fours over the years.”

Rich Clarkson's memorabilia (credit: CBS)

Rich Clarkson’s memorabilia (credit: CBS)

As he looks to the future, Clarkson says he’s most thankful for the friendships he’s formed and moments he’s shared. And at 82, he says he’s perfectly fine with taking a break, and perhaps next year, just sitting in the stands.

“People ask, ‘What is the most difficult thing about photographing the Final Four?’ … At my age, at the end of the half, at the end of the game, standing up.”


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