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|| News Item: Posted 2013-03-22

With Sports Shooter photographer of the year Patrick Smith

By Sports Shooter Staff

Photo by Patrick Smith

Photo by Patrick Smith

A man stares at the site in which the statue of former Penn State University football coach Joe Paterno stood now sits empty after it was removed six months after his death by workers outside Beaver Stadium on July 22, 2012 in State College, Pennsylvania.
(Patrick Smith, a freelance photojournalist currently based in Baltimore, Md., is the 2012 Sports Shooter Photographer of the Year. Smith collected 350 points in the Clip Contest, more than enough points to claim first place, and the top prize: A Canon EOS 1DX camera. Sports Shooter founder Robert Hanashiro conducted the Q&A.)

Sports Shooter: How do you feel about winning the Sports Shooter Photographer of year award?

Patrick Smith: Simply put, I am: happy, humbled, and honored. There are a lot of talented, inspiring photographers that are apart of this community, so to be awarded by others on what they consider solid photojournalism is humbling. I'm grateful for their judgment, as well as, their inspiring photos that continually drive me to produce compelling work. Not to mention, I'm blown away by the prize! Thank you, Canon and SportsShooter!

S.S.: What is your approach when covering the same team throughout a season --- how do you "see differently?”,

P.S.: You have to keep an open mind that anything can and will happen and to put yourself in places you should and shouldn't be. For me, aside from the action, I love finding quieter moments in sports. Fans worship these players, but underneath the fame, they're also human. So I always hope my vision away from the action can make viewers ask questions and see the softer sides of these amazing athletes. These moments keep me curious and always looking for something different from the rest of the pack.

S.S.: What were your biggest challenges in making the move to the Baltimore/Washington metro area?

P.S.: I am a Baltimore native, but after being unexpectedly laid off from a staff newspaper job, I moved back to Baltimore. Its now been a little over two years, and the biggest challenge was picking up where I left off as a freelancer. From reconnecting with old clients, making new clients I regularly contribute to, and as always, seeking new clients.

S.S.: Pick your favorite frame of 2012 --- and tell me why it's special to you?

P.S.: In 2012, I spent a lot of time in Penn State covering the scandal for Getty Images. From the fall of Jerry Sandusky to the world that is known as "Happy Valley" - I was there many, many weeks documenting. This picture was after the statue, of the late and former Penn State football coach, Joe Paterno, was knocked down. I missed the actual statue coming down as I rushed from Baltimore to State College by car, and was devastated I had missed this important part of the story. But with patience, and a lot of time photographing around the now empty area that day, I was able to document this moment, and I felt this photograph was an iconic image to come out of Penn State.

S.S.: You have a cool blog, how much time do you spend on it and what is your goal for it?

P.S.: My original goal when I started it in college years ago was to simply help myself remember the highs and lows of the opportunities I had the chance to document. The blog has evolved, and now I also try to educate those others about what it took to get a certain image. At the same time, I post to show clients that I am staying busy and being consistent, always trying my best, knowing at the end of the day I put forward all the energy I had for the team.

S.S.: What is the best piece of advice you have received about photography?

P.S. I could list hundreds of things from many, many people - advice given to me by my family to friends and photographers alike. I am always learning something new. I like to think being being a good-human is the best piece of advice I'd ever been given in relation to photography and life in general. People will long remember you for your personality before your work and I strongly believe that to be true.

S.S.: What is the best piece of advice can you give a photography student?

Photo by Patrick Smith

Photo by Patrick Smith

Safety Ed Reed #20 of the Baltimore Ravens closes his eyes during the national anthem on the sideline before taking on the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on September 10, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.
P.S.: Much like the advice question, just be a good person. Aside from that: take risks, be patient, and foster relationships with your neighbors, people in your the community, as well as, your editors/clients. In addition, always be a team player, be honest with others and give more than expected.

S.S.: What's recording on your DVR?

P.S.: It's cliche to say you don't watch much TV, but I really don't. On my DVR I have the Super Bowl (I was working and still haven't seen it), Portlandia (brilliant comedy), Seinfeld (never gets old), and loads of episodes of Survivor (as an athlete/competitor, this is a great show and I'm slightly addicted).

S.S.: Your thoughts on the Instagram - phenomenon and how has that affected photojournalism?

P.S.: I've been shooting and blogging pictures from my cell phones since 2006. I've always done it for fun and the images I shoot have always been cutting-room floor type of photography. For others it's different I am sure, and obviously the filters are unethical to most. But for me, I'm not making money with my iPhone photos. For now, iPhone photos will continue to be an outlet for my creatively on the go. If anything else, if it gets people excited about photography and make them see the beauty in the world - I'm for it.

S.S.: Where are the best crab cakes in Baltimore?

P.S.: Growing up in Baltimore and spending summers on the shore - seafood is certainly my favorite type of food. There are plenty of places in Baltimore to get a good crabcake, but since most members will be coming into town most likely for a sporting event - Faidleys Seafood at Lexington Market are the best. It's a short walk from the stadiums, and aside from the food, Lexington Market is world-renown with a mix of amazing characters, great food and the lifestyle that is Baltimore. Don't forget to get a Natty Boh beer, too!

Editor’s Note: The Sports Shooter Clip Contest is a year-long series of monthly contests, sponsored by Canon, in which photographers submit their best photos from the previous month to be rated by fellow members. Each month points are awarded to the highest scoring images in four categories: Sports Action, Sports Feature, News, and Feature. At the end of the year all the points are tallied and the member with the highest score is declared Sports Shooter's Photographer of The Year.

Patrick Smith’s work can be view at his Sports Shooter member page:

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