January 21, 2019 - At the Summer Olympics in 1968, when Bob Beamon of
the USA leaped 29 feet, 2½ inches, 8.90m to win gold and set an Olympic
record during the Men’s Long Jump event, sports photography also took a
leap of faith into prominence and marketability, thanks to Tony Duffy’s
iconic photo of that historic moment, which led to the emergence of the
world’s first sports photography agency.
years down the line, digital revolution have inspired the layman’s
interest in photography, with virtually everyone managing to capture at
least a selfie. However, this has challenged talented professionals to
distinguish themselves with a lot more creativity in a bid to remain
relevant, and technological advancements are also playing a huge role.
AIPS Sport Media Awards have brought to light some of the aesthetic
ways of communicating sports stories through images, while also
recognizing the hard work that goes into producing such captivating
“We are in a time
when everybody is shooting pictures. That is nice, but on the
professional side, we have to find different ways to increase more and
more, the level of photography,” member of the jury Vincent Amalvy said.
are two sub-categories for Photography in the AIPS Sport Media Awards
(Portfolio and Sport Action) with three finalists each and five sports
represented in the final; swimming, speed skating, rugby, biathlon and
of Adam Pretty, Patrick B. Kraemer and Xu Liu were adjudged the best
three in Portfolio, while Alexey Filippov, Nobert Schmidt and Vincent
Riemersma secured the podium places in Sport Action. The winners will be
announced at the Awards ceremony to be held at the Beau-Rivage Palace
Hotel on January 21.
of Magicpbk, who covers mostly aquatic sports, acknowledged the
difficulty in finding new angles for pictures every year but his
portfolio of high-quality black and white images is proof that the
advancement in technology has provided room for more variety in sports
photography. It was Kraemer’s underwater camera that captured the
underside of a swimmer who is surrounded by air bubbles immediately
after diving into a pool. “So fascinating to see the air around his
body,” he said.
Pretty also explored the underwater beauty in his portfolio, showcasing
the symmetry of synchronized swimming as well as the underwater
reflections of swimming actions that unfold beyond the eyes of
spectators. Then like two sides of a coin, he succeeded in capturing a
building alongside swimmers performing underwater.
someone who has been in the profession for over three decades,
Vincent Amalvy, who is the Head of Special Operations and Photo Director
for Asia/Pacific at AFP acknowledged the impact of technology in sports
“When I was
starting photography in ‘85, everything was manual, now we are playing
with a lot of toys; drones, technology and so on. The pictures are more
and more sophisticated, but on the other hand we are looking a lot at
the content of journalism.”
is one thing to own a drone and another to have the perfect opportunity
to produce a unique shot. Vincent Riemersma had both, and Skating
Shadows came to be. Riemersma had confessed that prior he had always had
the National Geographic’s famous camel picture at the back of his mind
and was looking forward to the moment he could replicate it in sports.
The shadows are the notable figures in the picture while the real
skaters serve as the colourful base to the neatly arranged body prints
in the snow.
There is a high
level of expertise needed to be able to use technologies to produce the
desired result and even Alexey Filippov’s picture of Martin Fourcade
from beneath the biathlete confirms that much.
Nobert Schmidt, in his submission, projected the show of passion
exhibited during a rugby league game in a terrible weather condition. In
spite of being covered in mud both teams continued to play their hearts
out. China’s Xu Liu highlighted the dedication that goes into the
development of young gymnasts in China and he does this with so much
It is also
important to tell a story with the image as Amalvy explained further, “A
lot of people can do a lot of pictures and can imagine that they are
professionals but to be professional sometimes is a little bit
different. It’s journalism, so you need to give information, and that’s
what we found during these awards. We found some great stories with good
level of technique.”