ALEXANDRIA, VA – Elijah W. Griffin, Sr. has been known to throw a football or two in his life, but basketball was really his game. He probably could have given pro sports a shot himself, but he loved photography just as much. Plus he always dreamed he’d photograph Washington’s famous football team from the sidelines.
“After three years of calling, emailing, and reaching out to various people, tonight I finally reached my dream of being a photographer at an NFL game,” said Griffin during a pre-season game on August 15.
A few weeks later, Griffin noted, “Being an NFL Photographer is a lot of hard work. I have a lot of respect for the ones that do it because it is not as easy as it looks. I almost passed out from all the walking around, but I made it.”
Griffin’s passion for sports comes honestly. His dad, Oreal Griffin Sr. was a three-time state champion, with Parker Gray High School (1955-57) who was voted in the top 100 athletes in Alexandria history by the Alexandria Sportsman’s Club and was posthumously inducted into the Alexandria City Public Schools’ Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.
Griffin is also the Executive Director of the Debra Deneise Smith Foundation, a nonprofit started to honor his mother who died in August of 2017 from colon cancer. It has given scholarships to four T.C. Williams students this year.
When not catching the Redskins in his lens, Griffin also covers DC United, the Washington Wizards and the Washington Capitals, and own his own photography company, Griffin Vision. He lives in Alexandria with his wife, Michele, and their two children, Peyton, 6, and Elijah Jr, 4.
“The best part [of being an NFL photographer] is being able to see players up close and talk to them about various things in addition to football,” Griffin told the Zebra. “It’s my dream job. It’s everything I expected and more.”