history in the making

By strazz

January 7, 2009

Category: Sports


When I was first starting out in the business, my photo editors would always tell me to make an overall at every assignment.

The overall would always be a quick half-hearted attempt before I started shooting the real stuff.

I wasn’t interested in what the totality of the scene looked like but was more concerned with the focused moments and interactions.

“Tight is right” is a motto that some sports shooters live by. I followed that mantra for years. Only being pleased if  the entire frame was filled by two faces and a ball. 

In recent years, I have loosened up my compositions and have started to really enjoy the added context in each image.

Besides context, a looser composition gives an image a longer shelf life.

At each sporting event I shoot now, I make sure that I come back with at least one interesting action-based overall that shows what the venue looks like. The best place for this is at a high school gymnasium.

I can imagine in 50 years looking back at the photo above that I made last night at Plainfield North High School and getting the same feelings that I now get looking at images from the 1950s.


3 Responses to “history in the making”

  1. I love when I can tell a complex and detailed story with just one overall image. In this shot I like how the mural balances the frame, though seeing the home team score makes me want to know if the visitors had sunk anything yet. Shots like this compel me to dissect the image in order to discover as much about the moment as I can. Thanks!

  2. You know, that is a really good idea. But just be sure put it somewhere people will be able to find it in 50 years. We have file cabinets of prints from the ’50s at my paper, but a random jumble of neg sleeves and cds from the 1980s, which makes it almost impossible to find things from that era.

  3. Scott, I’m one of the shooters that still live by the tight is right motto. However, a few nights ago I didn’t have my usual lens selection. I had a blast shooting with my 16-35 and stole a move I learned from you on shooting from the absolute ground. Thanks for the insight. -Drew

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