Late Sunday night, third-generation Washingonian Sean Fine and his wife, Andrea Nix, won an Oscar for best documentary short.
Then Fine celebrated as many third-generation Washingonians would nowadays: by showing reporters his RGIII-themed socks, and by tweeting the image at Robert Griffin III.
Of course, Fine isn’t just any third-generation Washingtonian. He’s the grandson of legendary Skins photographer Nate Fine, a man responsible for much of the iconic footage and many of the iconic images in that franchise’s history. More about Nate Fine:
He began working for the Washington Times-Herald and the Redskins as a photographer in 1937. He eventually dropped the newspaper job to become a football cameraman who pioneered the tradition of using film footage for training in the locker room. Former head coach George Allen called him the “Cecil B. DeMille of the National Football League.”
A month before Nate Fine died in 1988, the team dedicated its Super Bowl win against the Broncos to him. He had been with them for every game but one since the team came to Washington. (He missed a 1944 exhibition game against the Chicago Bears, for his honeymoon.)
“25 years ago the Redskins dedicated their Superbowl win to my grandfather Nate Fine who was their photographer,” the younger Fine recently wrote. “Every time I pick up a camera I know he is looking down and smiling. Thanks Zayda for passing on an incredible gift.”
There’s one famous tale of Russ Grimm smearing honey on Fine’s photo perch to attract bees, which he hated. There’s another story of Chris Hanburger shaking the tower atop of which Fine filmed practice. I’m sure there are millions more famous tales.
“The head coach who made Mr. Fine’s job as photographer a full-time one, Vince Lombardi, was a man known for his ability to control superlatives. So his tribute to Mr. Fine’s work as being ‘as good as Green Bay’s’ was no small thing,” The Post wrote after Nate Fine’s death in 1988. “Joe Gibbs, the current head coach, said simply, ‘Nate’s a tradition.’ ”
Click here for an incredible image of Nate Fine hugging Dave Butz.