I am a feature photographer more than a sports shooter. Like the kid who sits by the school window daydreaming about what’s outside the classroom, I am usually more interested in what’s happening in the stands and on the sidelines of a game more than any predictable action on the playing field.
We used to call these “human interest” photos, which makes it sound like action photos are of little interest. I do suspect far more readers are interested in seeing storytelling moments off playing fields than somebody running with or catching a ball.
Unfortunately, too many publications focus on the action to the exclusion of what happens off the playing field or court.
It is as if the hundreds of supporting cast members are invisible or not as important as those wearing jerseys. Publications should make room for both.
After more than 30 years of not covering high school football, I find myself back on the field photographing local teams for a weekly newspaper.
Except for being blindsided by a receiver and breaking a lens in half before a game, I have enjoyed this nostalgic trip down memory lane.
My eyes and heart have always been drawn to the sidelines and shadows of life. Lately, I have taken a special interest in watching and photographing members of the band and cheer squads. They work hard, suffer difficult climate conditions, and practice long and hard.
The chain of small papers I work with in Iowa has published three pages of pictures highlighting and celebrating what happens around the game.
Each of us finds beauty and challenge in different subject matters and different types of photography. Sometimes, it is healthy to leave our photographic comfort zones and explore areas we often pass by, such as what happens on the sidelines of a game or event.