1997-98 Donruss card #160 – Theoren Fleury
Theo Fleury was one of the shortest men to play in the NHL. Looking up at him from a “worm’s-eye view” perspective gives the diminutive forward a sense of importance and grandeur. But also viewing him “through the mask” of a goalie makes the photo less believable. If Fleury was only 5-foot-5, how short was this goalie?
Obviously, the photographer had some fun when photographing the Calgary Flames sniper in this staged shot. The photog tried hard to make the photo look cool, but missed the mark. It would have been better to stick to one gimmick or the other.
A low-angle shot can lead to some interesting pictures-see Nelson Emerson’s 1991-92 Upper Deck card or Gary Unger’s 1973-74 Topps card.
Likewise, the “peering through the goalie mask” perspective is a unique concept that had not been attempted before.
But the two techniques work against each other.
The mask undermines the perspective. If the shot was meant to be “through the eyes” of a goalie, that would mean said goalie was lying on his stomach with his chin on the ice. Not a very believable pose. The wire cage of the mask also partially obscures Fleury, lessening his impact.
A good idea mired in mediocre execution. Had Fleury been photographed “through the mask” at a more believable perspective, it could have been among the most iconic cards of the 1990s. Still, it is noteworthy as being the only creative shot in the entire 1997-98 Donruss set.