RR Interview: Jack Carlson and Outtakes from 'Rowing Blazers'

Kingston Rowing Club (Photo courtesy of Jack Carlson)
Recently, we caught up with Jack Carlson about his favorite holiday gifts for rowers this year, and here, we go behind the scenes with Jack during the making of Rowing Blazers. And, included below are several never-before-published outtakes from the book, including U.S. national team vet and Trinity alum John Graves (read his RR interview here), as well as that most famous of rowing duos, the Winklevoss Twins. Here's what Jack had to say.

RR: Putting together a book is never a small undertaking, and the finished product that you've created is stunning—for each photo that made it into the final version, how many hours would you estimate went into its production?

Jack Carlson: Some of the shoots took hours—not including, of course, the time it took to prepare, research and travel to sometimes remote locations (ever been to Groningen?). But everyone was so patient and so great in front of the camera.

Trinity College Hartford (Photo courtesy of Jack Carlson)
Some took only a few minutes. Our shoot with Jonny Searle, for instance, took exactly four minutes because he had to go pick up his kids from swimming. It was an important shoot -- because it's Jonny Searle, and because his blazer was the rare Hampton Curtains jacket. Also because we had borrowed Karl Hudspith for the day (who was OUBC president that year, and who was to appear in the shoot with Jonny, wearing a normal Hampton blazer). Jonny couldn't stop laughing during the shoot, and his dog refused to leave his side. We just took as many photos as we could, and it actually turned out to be one of my favorites in the book!

Amsterdamsche Studenten Roeivereeniging Nereus (Photo courtesy of Jack Carlson)
RR: Were there a few that were final cuts that you wish you could have included?

JC: There were a lot that I wish we could have included and a lot of very difficult decisions. If it were up to me, we would have had a 600-page book and put in every club we shot. But the book came out brilliantly, and I can't complain.

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (Photo courtesy of Jack Carlson)
RR: In the midst of it all, what unexpected and welcome discoveries did you make? Any historical notes, or even new friendships emerge?

JC: I learned a lot in the process of creating the book. It really was an adventure. One thing that was cool to see was the first (known) written use of the word "blazer." It appears (in quotation marks) in the 1852 Cambridge Almanack and Register as a slang term to refer to Lady Margaret Boat Club's scarlet jackets. I also really enjoyed learning about the quirky traditions at each club—especially the Dutch clubs. In many cases, Rowing Blazers is the first book to publish some of these rituals and traditions, which previously had been passed down orally or preserved only in private archives.

Oxford University Women's Lightweights (Photo courtesy of Jack Carlson)
RR: You've already followed up with the official Rowing Blazers tie—are there more ideas in the works for the coming months? Maybe even a second edition?

YES! Quite a few ideas actually! Watch this space! The ties have been a lot of fun, and I'm really pleased with how they came out. As for a second edition—I'm certainly not ruling it out. There are many great clubs and blazers that I wish we could have included but couldn't.

All photos © Jack Carlson. For more information on the book, please visit the official website of Rowing Blazers


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