I've always seen in sports a very rich tapestry of emotions and have been particularly drawn to the quieter of these. There is an incredible stillness and held energy as an athlete focuses and draws all of his power into himself before that energy releases itself in the form of action and sometimes abandon as when a soccer or tennis player lunges for a ball.
Athletes in competition are capable of incredible focus and extreme feelings. By tuning in to these emotional currents in the game, it is often possible to produce the most telling images. Each sport presents unique photographic challenges, but I like to look for patterns of movement and action that are similar in all forms of athletic competition. Tension, release and reaction. If you watch any athlete in any sport you will constantly see this pattern again and again.
In baseball, a runner on first warily eyes a pitcher who is holding him on base before breaking for second. Safe or out, he will emote in some fashion depending on the outcome of the play. In basketball, a player gathers himself at the foul line in preparation for the key free throw. In track, a sprinter focuses at the start before exploding out of the blocks and raising his arms as he crosses the tape. By understanding these patterns, it is easier to anticipate the action and produce strong images.
- Adam Stoltman