At 6-foot-2, you couldn’t miss him.
Yet somehow, he always managed to stay unnoticed.
Michael Krouskup spent his life observing and watching just outside of the fray. He was never directly involved with the action, but boy, could he capture it.
That talent is now gone. Michael died on Oct. 13 after a 10-month battle with a rare form of cancer.
For 11 years, Michael turned his eye towards the Belmont community as the university photographer and found a way to document the campus in a way that can’t be rivaled.
I got to know the man on the outskirts during his last few years on campus.
The first time I met him was at a basketball game that we were both covering.
That night, I had no clue what I was doing. Literally. I was just a little freshman with a dinky, low-level DSLR and a portrait lens assigned to take photos of basketball. A freshman that had no photo training and didn’t even know the full settings of that Nikon in her hand.
The photos were blurry, my hands too shaky to capture good photos. To top it off, I was committing photography’s greatest sin – I was standing still.
But instead of ignoring me and my incompetence like most professionals would, Michael flashed a grin and introduced himself.
For the rest of the game, Michael offered little tidbits of advice. Stand here. Put your shutter speed on this. Always shoot things outside of the game. The best photos show emotion.
It was in that moment that Michael became a kind of mentor to me.
For the rest of that semester and the beginning of the next, Michael continued to extend his kindness and show me little tips and tricks for photos. At every event and game we both covered, Michael and I would compare photos, share stories and rescue each others equipment from being trampled. (It’s a much bigger problem than you would expect.)
Michael was my go-to guy in a pinch, a role I know he played for many others. Had a broken CF card? Call Michael. Want to borrow a fisheye lens? Michael’s your guy. No matter how busy he was, Michael always had time to help.
Even when his problems were much larger.
Last March, Belmont was waiting anxiously to hear its position in the NCAA tournament on Selection Sunday, and, of course, Michael and I were both there.
It had been a while since I’d seen him. Michael was thinner, had a shaved head and looked extremely tired. But he was still his smiling, energetic self, even as he told me he had been diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma.
Just a few days later, Michael fought through the pain and the weakness to shoot the Bruins fall to the Georgetown Hoyas. It was his last event as the university’s photographer.
He did it, not because he had to, but because he loved his job.
And Belmont loved him back.
Family, friends, current Belmont employees, students and alumni all gathered for the memorial service on Wednesday to remember the man that was a fighter, a father and most importantly, a giver.
I may have only known him briefly, but at least I can say that I knew Michael Krouskup.
Autumn Allison, Vision managing editor, is a junior journalism major.