ED REINKE

PHOTOJOURNALIST | MENTOR

(NOTE-the text and photos are placeholders in order to construct the website and will be replaced with photos and text). Ed Reinke didn't think of his job so much as taking photos, but rather as creating them. When the award-winning Associated Press photographer grabbed his camera and headed out to an assignment, he would tell his colleagues, "I am going to make a picture."

Ed Reinke

Ed Reinke

Whether it was Kentucky Derby horses training on a chilly spring morning, a bumblebee hovering near a flower on his beloved farm or a quarterback celebrating a Super Bowl touchdown, the AP photojournalist viewed the world as a series of pictures. His profession was journalism; his gift was telling a story in one frame.

"I saw a picture and went and got my camera," Reinke would often say.

The Associated Press photographer for Kentucky, who traveled the world shooting news and sports images, died late Tuesday, his family said. He had been hospitalized since Oct. 2, when he fell and suffered a head injury while covering the IndyCar race at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.

In the weeks that followed, dozens of Reinke's colleagues around the United States rallied around him via a Facebook page where they shared photos and stories of the man remembered universally for his warm smile and twinkling eyes. The page, "To Ed Reinke," had been started several years ago, an online place where far-flung photographers shared photos of themselves toasting a man who had been a colleague, friend and mentor to many since he started his photojournalism career in 1972.

"Those he could trust to shoot decent pictures for freelance assignments became known as 'Reinke's kids,' a close-knit group of local newspaper photographers bent on validating his trust," said John Flavell, photo editor at The Daily Independent in Ashland, Ky. "Actually, he built a network of trust among newspaper photographers and we help each other out within that network to this day. He was the hub of a very close-knit community."

During more than 25 years with Kentucky AP, Reinke often was selected for assignments across the world: Super Bowls, World Series championships, Final Fours, Summer and Winter Olympics, Masters and PGA championships, the Indy 500, President Bill Clinton's first inauguration and Hurricane Andrew. He had not missed a Kentucky Derby since 1988.

"Ed was a gifted photographer and a wonderful person, an incredible pro who was at his best at a major event like the Kentucky Derby or any big-game situation one could imagine," said longtime friend and colleague John Asher, vice president of communications at the legendary Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville. "More than that, Ed was a friend, and his regular presence at our track for any event was as welcome and reassuring as a glance at the venerable Twin Spires that have been a part of Kentucky Derby tradition for well over a century."