Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3

January 24, 2012

By Eddie Keogh

The world now is a very different place to the one that held the Ancient Olympic Games which only lasted for one day. In those days only men could compete and only unmarried women could watch. It was rumored that women would dress up like men in order to get in, but that sounds a little Pythonesque….

The greatest show on earth is due to take place this summer in London. For a London boy who has photographed sport for the past 30 years, having the Olympics here is very special. It won’t be my first, that was in Los Angeles. As a 21 year old kid working for a London news agency, I can still remember my jaw dropping when I was asked to go. My hair is a little greyer now, but I still have the photography bug and was looking forward to covering the Olympic test events.

Now it’s a very serious business. The stadiums and venues are ready and the testing is now in full flow. As a photographer working for Reuters in Britain we shoot a lot of Premier League football, so to have the opportunity to shoot some different sports is challenging but really interesting. We need to get the right balance on each job, from nailing an important moment that tells the story of the day to shooting some pretty or unusual angles. Sometimes I get it good and other times I get it better. (Ok, I’ve missed a few, just don’t tell the boss.)

The test events have worked well for the photographers, but then they would if you have the highly regarded sports photographer Bob Martin as head of photography. He has looked at every venue and worked out all the best angles and locations for photographers to get the best possible shot. The international agencies will be allowed to clamp cameras in the roofs of several venues to get some unusual angles on the action. 1400 photographers have been accredited, with 50 paid staff and 750 volunteers assigned to them.

There were a few sports I hadn’t shot before, archery, rhythmic gymnastics, mountain biking and the paralympic sport of goalball.

There was a fairly steep learning curve on those days, but after a bit of time you get a feel for where the pictures will be. With only six months to go now before it all starts, Olympic fever is steadily getting bigger and bigger. The real deal is coming to town, bring it on.

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