II look at the first image again. Balance, symmetry, all the darkness. Eyes closed, Jun Hoong Cheong’s magnificent hair pointed towards the water, with no beginning or end. All perfectly framed by Ramsey Cardy from Sportsfile.

There might not be a huge audience for the best sports photo of 2021, but it’s compelling and photography isn’t the most wonderfully subjective area of ​​media and sport anyway.

Welcome to our annual Camera Classics debate on the subject. As you scroll through the art, the Snapper’s Sixth Sense and, they will always concede, that much needed touch of good fortune from the best camera men and women in Ireland and the world.

“I think there is something about the Olympics that brings out the best in photographers,” says Cardy on the opposite page and there is a generous portion of footage from the Tokyo Games, despite the small crowds and the passion.

Photography is an art in all its forms. Some overlap genres. A Lionel Messi in tears, saying his farewell to Barcelona, ​​is he a beautiful sporting image? It’s dramatic and newsworthy and has been used around the world, but a nice sporty image? Maybe not.

With a photograph, beauty is quite subjective. What are the main criteria? The moment? The importance? Is it supposed to be art or theater? Chaos or serenity? Personally, I never like to use images with vacant stalls or terraces in the background, as they steal the moment from that cacophonous backdrop. And we had too many in 2020 – and quite a few in 2021. For example, I forgot that Ireland’s Six Nations loss to England last March played out to a hollow soundtrack at Lansdowne. Road.

The emotional drama of June at Parken Stadium in Copenhagen when the life of Dane Christian Eriksen was in the hands of paramedics in front of millions of Euro 2020 viewers was arguably the most traumatic and dramatic moment in sport this year – and the resulting images are still etched in our minds. Like Reuters’ Wolfgang Rattay. “I’m not proud to have taken this photo, I was there and did my job that afternoon.”

Most of the time, snappers aren’t even sure they’ve found gold before. Luckily for some, like Inpho’s Morgan Treacy on the last page, they’ll be back on track soon: “It wasn’t until looking back that I noticed something different in Lucas Mazzo’s shot. I then realized I had something special so I waited in the same place until he came back and zoomed in closer to get a clear picture of his eye and that amazing lens. of contact. Proving again the photographer’s old adage that ‘if you see it you don’t’ – because you saw it happen and the moment is past.

The beautiful shot of Collin Morikawa at the Ryder Cup? Another tip of the hat to Ramsey Cardy. It’s beautifully framed – the sun, the sand, the golf ball. The richness of texture and color. And it crops perfectly to match the details of the cover as well!

The best sports photo of the year? We don’t promise that – only memorable. Either way, does it really matter? Here’s a lot more of the same in 2022 – with no empty arenas.


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