This offseason, Murray directed his focus to catching his fellow running back’s personality in a photograph.
The Vikings go through photo and video sessions for use on multiple platforms, including the Playbookfree game programs that are distributed to fans at home games.
After spending some time in front of the camera, Murray stepped behind it, joining team photographer Andy Kenutis as McKinnon let his light shine.
“I think it captures him because me and ‘Jet’ really hadn’t spent more than a few months together,” Murray said. “Once he saw I had my camera on me, he was ready to go. You’ve got to love somebody who is real open. Giving some personality helps the picture more than anything.”
McKinnon said it was the first time he had seen Murray take pictures. He was impressed by the image, and that’s after being wowed by some of Kenutis’ best work in McKinnon’s four seasons in Minnesota.
“I like it. It’s kind of interesting, with this being my fourth year and seeing all of the pictures that Andy takes and how high-quality the camera is, it’s intriguing,” McKinnon said. “I guess ‘Tay’ has been doing some photography stuff like that. A picture can say a thousand words.”
McKinnon said the photo illustrates that he likes “to have fun with whatever I’m doing.”
“I was smiling, and if they’re taking pictures, I just want to be myself,” McKinnon said. “Ask anybody in the locker room, I’m always clowning, a fun guy to be around. I guess I’m just being myself.”
In addition to the peek behind-the-scenes, Murray has photographed portraits and taken spontaneous pics of friends and family, participated in a nighttime photography course in Minneapolis and hit pause on a South Beach sunrise.
He’s also been able to connect with
“Me and Teddy talk about it all of the time. We show each other pics,” Murray said. “I mess with him all the time and tell him I’m better than him, so I’ve got to make sure. He’s really good, and he’s been shooting for a while, but I told him I’m coming for him because I love it. I don’t go anywhere without [my camera].”
A native of scenic, Upstate New York, Murray admitted that he didn’t always appreciate his surroundings.
“What’s crazy, I think you don’t realize things until you get older,” Murray said. “At the time, I wasn’t even shooting photography when I was growing up in Upstate New York, but even if I think back to it now, especially where I went to high school in the hills, in the country, I know I can go back there and get some of the crazy shots that I never even thought about. It definitely gives you a better appreciation for some of the stuff you grew up around and took for granted and some of the views you maybe didn’t capture when you could have.”
The passing of a friend and former teammate named Jonathan Diaz last Thanksgiving played a significant role in his interest in freezing time with an f-stop and focal point. Murray and Diaz had been friends since age 6, and the running back chose No. 25 in Diaz’s honor.
Three days after Diaz’s death, Murray totaled 88 offensive yards and a rushing touchdown in a 35-32 win over Carolina. He attended Diaz’s funeral and returned to Oakland and rushed for 82 yards and two touchdowns against Buffalo.
Murray’s love for football hasn’t faded, but he has an enhanced perspective that there is life beyond the game: moments to be appreciated and enjoyed, movements to be preserved by mementos.
“I hate to use this as my reasoning for a lot of things, but when my friend passed away last year and we had to play against the Panthers on Sunday … it’s like, OK, in that time, I really don’t have a chance to grieve.
“It’s things like that where you realize everything else about who you are and maybe even what you do means more to me as a person,” Murray said. “Don’t get me wrong, I love the game, but you definitely can’t let it define you because there are more important things. So, when guys pick up photography and things like that, I respect it because we’re not just football players. There’s probably guys with the talent that don’t even know it if they haven’t even tried.”
Out of the tragedy, Murray photographed a moment of beauty during a dinner in Washington, D.C., in honor of Diaz.
“My brother was living there at the time, so a few guys from Syracuse drove down, and I flew into D.C. We just had this get-together. I was taking pictures all night and captured my friend’s daughter Olive, a cool shot with the glasses.
“The best is when people don’t know,” Murray said. “The lens makes it look like I’m a lot closer than I was. I probably was 7-to-10 feet from her, but that lens shoots very close and will blur out everything else around her. The best pictures are the ones where they’re not paying attention. She didn’t know I was taking this, so you’re just capturing people from a distance.”
Source: Vikings | Craig Peters | October 19, 2017