One of my favorite topics is the Olympics and I love looking at Olympic photographs. My father recently introduced me to the work of an Australian Olympic photographer by the name of Adam Pretty. A lot of his photographs pertain to this week’s lecture and the seven things that you should look for in a photo from the book “Reading Photographs” by Jon Bayer.
I think that this a great example of the “decisive moment.” It says so much without using a single word. It actually reminds me of the famous ABC Sports slogan, “the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat.” I think that this picture is unique because usually sports photographs show the emotions connected with success or the emotions connected with failure. This photograph manages to show success and failure in the same frame. This one-second moment was captured excellently by the photographer. If he had waited a few seconds longer he would have missed the exact moment that the fencing match concluded and the winner (the representation of “success” in this photo) might have run out of frame.
This is a once in a career photograph as far as symbolism is concerned. It’s amazing that the photographer managed to capture both a beautiful, peaceful and calm moment of the diver underwater and also capture the exact moment that the bubbles floated up in the shape of a Christian cross. Anyone who has ever spent any time underwater knows that it feels and looks like a different world, where time shows down and it is also where some people feel more connected to their own breath. All things that some people connect to religious experiences. This photograph does a good job of capturing the more spiritual side of sports.
VIEW OF HUMANITY
I like the ambiguity of this photograph. At first glance I automatically assumed that this swimmer was crying over a difficult loss but then I realized that he also could be having a positive emotional reaction to a surprise win. Either of these is a possibility but it doesn’t matter in the long run, this photo is about humanity and emotion and the photographer manages to display this athlete’s intimate moment in a way that resonates with the viewer. It’s raw but it works well.
In my opinion, this photo of triathletes is a great representation of light. This photograph is taken from below, looking directly up at the sun, which takes on a blurry and warm feeling here. The light is partially distorted by the water that is being kicked up by the triathletes and it adds just enough distortion to make this photograph look like an oil painting. I also love that the lighting allows the athletes to remain anonymous and take on the form of black figures without any of their identifying features visible. They almost look like the black colored figures of athletic participants that showed up on artwork in Ancient Greece, especially the paintings on pottery of the Ancient Olympics.
ORGANIZATION OF THE PICTURE
This photo reminds me of our class discussion on “organization of the picture” because of its representations of space and repeating shapes. This particular photo shows a group of swimmers at the exact moment that the starting horn goes off and they dive in to begin a race. It’s shot from below (most likely with a camera on the bottom of the pool looking up at the ceiling) and I like that each swimmer is in roughly the same body position but is in a slightly different place than the swimmer to their left and/or right. The ceiling panels and lights that are visible add a nice contrast to the dark figures of the swimmers and they also add a beautiful element of repeating shapes that mostly consists of triangles.