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60 Years of Ramblers Photos, One Click at a Time

By Justin Breen | December 19, 2012 6:55am | Updated on December 19, 2012 9:31am

ROGERS PARK — Through his small camera viewer, Bud Bertog has opened up the world to Loyola University men's basketball.

Bertog, 74, is in his 60th year of shooting the Ramblers' games.

A lifetime Rogers Park resident, Bertog said his first assignment for Loyola came when he was 14: Then-coach George Ireland had Bertog photograph him and his staff with the teen's 4-by-5-inch Speed Graphic camera.

"It sort of progressed from there," said Bertog, who added that his aunt, Ella Bertog, helped him purchase equipment and a darkroom as his photography career blossomed.

"She backed me because I wanted to do it. The rest of the family, including my mother, thought I was nuts," Bertog said. "They thought I should get a real job."

Bertog actually missed Loyola's most famous game — the Ramblers' 60-58 NCAA championship victory over Cincinnati in 1963 — because he had to stay home and help plan his wedding.

"He was not a happy camper," said Sandy Bertog, his wife of 49 years.

But Sandy Bertog said her husband has more than enough memories to compensate for being absent at that game.

"He's met so many people, friends and students that still we see years later that thank us for what he's done," the Lakeview native said.

Bertog, who was honored by Loyola during halftime of the team's home opener in November against Toledo, doesn't have a favorite photo or team. But one of his top memories is photographing the 1985 Loyola squad that reached the Sweet 16. He also enjoys seeing his photos blown up on posters throughout Loyola's campus.

He used to travel on road games but now he shoots only tilts at Gentile Arena. If he misses a game, his wife, also a photographer, takes his place.

"It's always nice to have someone back you up," said Bertog, who graduated from the former St. Michael Central High School and Chicago Teachers College.

Bertog was the chief photographer at the Chicago Park District for 35 years before retiring in 1993. He has no plans to stop shooting the Ramblers anytime soon.

"The best part of this is the people you meet," he said. "The people here at Loyola are great."