Oct 2, 2011, 2:37 PM
Post #1 of 4
Longtime photographer John T. Hopf, of Newport, RI, has passed away at the age of 91. He is best remembered for his aerial photography of the post-war America's Cup races in Newport from 1958 to 1983.
EIGHT BELLS - John T. Hopf
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Amongst the most notable of his aerial action shots is the sequence of "the shot heard 'round the world". This was the famous starting line incident between INTREPID (Ficker is Quicker) and GRETEL II (Gentleman Jim Hardy) during the 1970 Cup Defense in the waters off Newport. Hopf's overhead sequence features the puff of smoke of the starting cannon, flags indicating wind direction and contact of Gretel's bow with Intrepid just abaft her port chainplate.
It was as close as you can get to an "instant replay" using 1970 America's Cup coverage technology. Associated Press staff worked with Hopf in his darkroom and faxed his momentous shots to the world via the wire services. This Cup incident likely played a major role in promoting the use of an International Jury at the Cup races, and ultimately the development of the advanced umpiring system which we saw at Auckland and Valencia (and which is now widely used in match and team racing).
One of the biggest regrets that this native Newporter had was that we lost the Auld Mug on his birthday....and he wasn't even there to cover it! Hopf had covered earlier races in '83, but he was in the hospital on September 26, 1983, and had to watch AUSTRALIA II cross the finish line at BLACK KNIGHT on television.
Hopf was also known for his large production of postcards....12 metres, other yachts, landmarks and mansions in the Newport area. He also produced many photobooks for the Preservation Society of Newport and was awarded a gold medal by the Society. Though not particularly comfortable on the water, Hopf loved to cover the Cup races from the air. Many of his photos could be seen around the bar at the old Christies in Newport.
Also, some of his photos can still be seen in the Atlantic Beach Club and Coddington Brewery in the Newport area.
Hopf is survived by his wife & children.