Behind the lens: Meet Notre Dame's photographer, Mike Bennett

NOTRE DAME, Ind. - All Mike Bennett wanted to do was photograph a Notre Dame Football game. In 1982, he got his chance.

"I got setup for a game in Pittsburgh, who at the time was number one."

Bennett took full advantage of his opportunity.

"Alan Pinkett broke a long run, I got multiple photographs of him running and scoring," Bennett said. "Those photos ended up in the South Bend Tribune a week later and that's how I got my break."

Early on, Bennett says he shutters at his early photographs, but three decades later, his philosophy remains the same.

"I sit back and let the action come to me. Still record the moment but not participate," Bennett said.

The philosophy, which help him start Lighthouse Imaging. It turned into a family business but getting started was tough he said, until he met legendary Notre Dame Coach, Jerry Faust.

"One day at practice, his secretary grabs me and says, 'Wait here, coach wants to speak with you.' How many coaches leave practice to come see a photographer?"

What Faust said to Bennett shocked even more than him taking time out of his practice.

"He says, 'I hear you're starting a business, I know that can be tough. If you're ever in a situation where you can't make payroll or anything else, give me a call and I'll help you out.'" Bennett recalls.

This single action Bennett says is what makes Notre Dame great.

"People say oh Notre Dame this Notre Dame that. It's not the university, it's the people that make it special."

Bennett has captured many amazing moments including the 1988 National Championship season, the 1993 Florida State game, and the Irish's trips to Fenway Park and Ireland. He says the sights are incredible but it's the messages he's received from people over the years that resonate with him.

"Lou Holtz told me one day, 'Go thank someone. Doesn't matter who or for whatever, but go thank someone," Bennett said.

People like his wife, Sue or his daughter, Michelle, who help keep the business going day after day.

"I would be no where without them," Bennett said. "It's truly a team effort.

A team almost never formed if not for that perfect shot 34 years ago.

"I've been doing this 34 years and I still get goosebumps walking down the tunnel," Bennett said.

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