EA Sports Cover Peyton Hillis by Tim Mantoani

EA Sports left this year’s Madden 12 video game cover up to the fans. The day before the 2011 NFL Draft in New York and after 12.7 million votes were tallied, Cleveland Brown’s running back Peyton Hillis was announced victorious.

Good friend and San Diego photographer, Tim Mantoani was selected to collaborate with EA Sports, NFL, Diversified Production Service and HG Producers to photograph Peyton Hillis and capture his bad ass persona in the middle of Times Square. Tim and his crew made nice with the staging crews, as a mini football field was built over nine hours and projected live on the Times Square Jumbo Tron.

EA Sports revealed the final cover for Madden 12 photographed by Tim Mantoani earlier today. And to celebrate this great occasion, I caught up with Tim to share some of his thoughts about working with Peyton Hillis, EA Sports and the NFL right in the middle of New York’s Times Square.

mM : When you take on an assignment for the cover for EA games, how do you keep what you are doing a super secret and away from gaming fans across the globe?

TM : We have to sign an NDA and myself and crew know we can't discuss the job with anyone. This year, the vote was public and we didn't know until it was announced on TV the night prior to the shoot.

mM : What was the energy like working in the middle of NY Time's square? How were the fans and the general public responding to the project as it unfolded?

TM : We were not allowed to advertise the shoot in Times Square until that a.m. Since it was draft week, there were a lot of football fans in the city that showed up. It was a crazy and very surreal experience. Once the shoot began, I just focused on the shoot and everything around me vanished for the most part. Every once in while, a fire truck would drive by with sirens blaring or Dion Sanders would be standing next to me and I would take a moment to look around a take it all in.

mM : What’s it like to work with professional athletes, their reps and all of the hoopla that surrounds their celebrity?

TM : With Madden the guys have always been great. They are happy to be on the cover and give you the time and effort you need to get the job done. For last years cover we shot Drew Brees. He was such a pro and great guy. He ended out shoot by teaching the entire crew this pregame chant that he does with the team. One of the greatest memories in my career.

mM : What’s next for Tim Mantoani? And when and how can people access your book “Behind Photographs?”

TM : In the final stages of getting the book off to press. It is rewarding to see a 5 year project coming together in the book format. People can sign-up on my site to get updates on book sales and signings that will begin in the fall.

More—Tim Mantoani is no stranger to celebrity, as he has photographed many of the sports legends of our times, gracing the covers of ESPN Magazine and Sports Illustrated.

Tim is a gifted photographer who has been actively archiving the who’s-who of photographers in a project entitled, “Behind Photographs.” Tim’s epic showcase features over 160 photographers captured with their most iconic images. Ironically, Tim has archived the history of contemporary image making through the lens of the now extinct 20x 24 Polaroid camera. And Tim might be considered a magician as both the camera and all of its related supplies has been discontinued by Kodak since 2006.

Look out for more great work by Tim Mantoani and check out his portfolio of groundbreaking work. Tim does great work and has helped me with clients, portraits and archiving projects like no other. Thanks Tim Mantoani and congratulations.


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