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|| News Item: Posted 2002-05-02

Diane Weiss: What Is A Good Sports Photo?
"I am not saying all action has to be tight, teeth grinding, eye popping, peak action because all sports are different."

By Diane Weiss

I consider myself an old fashioned purist when it comes to defining sports action and sports feature. I still think sports action photos should reflect sports action in the tradition of competition.

Pictorial should be pictorial ... etc. That is not to say there won't be gray and fuzzy lines, but action should be in the course of the game, match,or official timed event. If that defined, action occurs while the clock is running it's sports action if the clock is not running, it's not action but rather a sports feature.

If there is a start and finish line, the action is in between the two. If the action happens outside of that, it is a feature. Pretty basic interpretation.

But like I said, I am purist. I also think that spontaneous reaction and celebration should be in the action category, not feature.

I am not saying all action has to be tight, teeth grinding, eye popping, peak action because all sports are different. Swimming photos, golf photos or the pee wee soccer game are not going to produce the same impact action that a football game does The standards of action shift a bit due to the nature of the sport.

This debate will go on forever and at judging time we see more pictures from non-traditional sports. We rarely see a photo from the Super Bowl winning a contest it seems when we see the same photo from 23 different angles, the photo loses it's impact of being unique and different.

Sports shooters need to photograph the sports and the teams that their paper are covering. But they also need to step away from the pack and look at the event from another angle. Sports shooters need to challenge their editors to get something unique and different in the paper. The debate is good, we need to question and talk and not agree. It makes us better shooters and editors.

(Diane Weiss is a sports photo editor at the Detroit Free Press. She previously was a photographer and picture editor at USA TODAY.)

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