The Art of Sports Photography at The Olympic Museum

This summer The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, will be featuring exhibitions and programs celebrating The Art of Sports Photography.  I have the honor of being a part of two of the exhibits: Rio 2016 Seen Through the Lenses of Four Photographers, which features my work from The Olympic Games in Rio last summer and Who Shot Spots: A Photographic History, 1845 to Present, a traveling  exhibit curated by my friend, the indomitable Gail Buckland, which I am very proud to be a part of.

If you can’t make it to Switzerland to explore The Art of Sports Photography, follow me on Instagram @johnhuet where I’ll be posting a new sports photo every day for the rest of the summer in honor of this amazing program. And for an in-depth look at the Who Shot Sports exhibit, you might be interested in picking up the accompanying book by the same name.

If you’d like to join me in celebrating The Art of Sports Photography, hashtag your images with #theartofsportsphotography, and let’s keep this rolling.  I look forward to seeing you out there.

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Manchester-by-the-Sea

A couple of nights ago, I was watching the Oscars. I was actually invested this year since Manchester by the Sea was up for a handful nominations, ultimately taking home Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay at the end of the night. I’ve been trying to see the movie since it was released, but it kept selling out everywhere, thanks in large part to the enduring hometown pride of New Englanders. I get it–part of the reason I wanted to see it was because I’ve been living in Manchester-by-the-Sea for over 20 years, and it’s where I’m raising my kids. I finally got to see the movie a couple of days ago, and the familiarity and close proximity of the featured locations was a really cool thing to experience. While it was the personal connection to the location that initially interested me, the storyline was what really drew me in.

The film was incredibly well done in every way, and I came away with a lot of creative inspiration, but I have to think that there was something particularly special about watching the ending in a theatre full of Bay Staters. For those who haven’t seen the movie, the basis of the storyline is that the two main characters, Lee and Patrick, are brought together by an unexpected death in the family. The last scene is this great shot of the two of them on the family boat, reminiscent of the time they spent together when Patrick was younger. The scene is nostalgic and peaceful. It cuts to black, and the credits roll. And then, out of nowhere, a woman in the audience jumps to her feet, and in the thickest Boston accent you have ever heard screams out, “Are you frickin’ kiddin me?? This is how it ends?! You gotta be SHITTIN’ me!!”

Definitely see Manchester by the Sea, and feel free to take a look at some of the images I’ve made of this picturesque North Shore town during the time I’ve lived here. If you’ve seen the movie, you might even recognize some of the locations yourself. I’ve pulled a few of my favorite images below, but you can view the entire collection HERE.

 

Pieces of Grace

At 23 years old, jazz saxophonist/singer and Brookline native Grace Kelly released her 10th studio album, Trying to Figure it Out.

“It’s a compilation album of human experiences I’ve had during the last couple of years as I’ve been looking for myself as an artist,” Grace says. “12 years of being on stage has been a learning process, but I think my own thing is finally embracing all of the pieces that make me me.”

If only all of us were that sure of ourselves at that point in our lives, our 20s would have been far less messy. But that’s Grace for you–an old soul with the hip, blue-streaked hair of a millennial.

Grace is a natural performer, which is obvious from her cool attitude in the photos. She nurtured the dream of being a Broadway star as a child and took countless dancing, acting, and singing lessons from ages 6-12 before hitting the road as a professional musician. There’s something about music that just takes over her and sets her at ease. She said she had a felt a bit awkward at first, stepping in front of the camera for the Improper Bostonian shoot–mostly due to her feeling under the weather that day. But as soon as Michael Jackson started pouring through the speakers and filling the room, she was able to really have fun on set.

“John has such vision and knows exactly what he’s looking for,” Grace says. “He’s so awesome to work with and laidback–so humble too. When I saw the photos, I was stunned.”

The idea for the shoot was to place Grace in a stereotypical, smoky, underground jazz club–the complete antithesis of who she is as an artist. Yes, she adores and take notes from jazz legends like Stan Getz and Paul Desmond, but Grace also loves to blend modern genres with her old school training and inspirations.  

“Sometimes in the music business, people don’t know what to do with me because I have such a wide range of styles, and switch between singing and playing,” Grace says. “But my own thing is uniqueness and audiences embrace this.”  

The best part about these photos of Grace Kelly is how that “uniqueness” is captured. The photos are vibrant yet moody, highly stylized yet simple, energized but they feel mellow–a collection of dichotomies, odds, and ends that sum up one young woman Trying to Figure it Out.  

For information on Grace’s music and tour dates, check out her personal websiteHead over to the Improper Bostonian’s site to read a full feature on Grace, and take a look at some outtakes from the shoot below: 

PRESS – A PHOTO EDITOR

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I was recently interviewed by Heidi Volpe for Rob Haggart’s photography blog, A Photo Editor. We talked about the technique involved in shooting synchronized swimmer Bill May for the ESPN feature, and she even spoke to Bill May himself. Below is my introduction from the piece. Click the preview to read the rest of the interview on Haggart’s blog, or head over to my website to see the entire collection of Bill May photos. 

“I don’t really adjust my style for different projects, nor can I really define my own style.

This simple story sum things up nicely – Alfred Eisenstaedt was hired to shoot our college portraits. He came into my class of 20 kids, and he asked everyone, “What kind of photographer do you want to be?” I was one of the last kids to be asked, when it was my turn, I replied, “fashion photographer.” He asked why. He’d not asked any of the other kids this follow up question. I panicked and blurted out, “Because I like girls!” Everyone in class had a good laugh, and then Alfred later explained that being a fashion photographer is no different than being any other type of photographer. You have a subject in front of you, treat that subject in front of you the same as you would a gown on a hanger.  It becomes a portrait of a gown, just as if a person was standing there.

So, I don’t look at myself or categorize myself as a sports photographer, I see myself as a photographer, and I see the subject in front of me as a subject. At the end of day, all photographs are solved with the same notes, regardless of the subject matter.”

Photo Story – “The Boston Celtics”

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When I was a kid, I had the privilege of attending baseball games at the old Forbes Field in Pittsburgh twice a year as a reward for my service as an altar boy. I lived for those days, being able to watch the games in seats so close to the action. I think that’s where my love for sports really started. Once I picked up a camera in my early teens, I wanted to learn how to preserve that action so that I could relish it more than only twice a year.

I had a great time following the Celtics this year, especially since they had such an unpredictable season, full of highs and lows. Some of the peak moments: Early on, Isaiah Thomas was averaging a solid 21.5 points per game; on April 1st, in one of their most exciting games of the season, the Celtics killed the NBA’s longest-running winning streak by a home team when they defeated the Warriors in Oracle Arena; and on February 5th, Avery Bradley buried the Cavs at the buzzer for one of the most memorable wins so far. Their off-season promises to be just as interesting. With 8 draft picks this year and the amount of money the team has to play with, they could potentially really shake up the roster.

I can’t wait to see what happens next with the Celtics, and I’m sure neither can all of their loyal fans. In the meantime, feel free to reminisce on the past season with some of my photos below. You can see the intensity on the players’ faces, and being that close to that kind of action never gets old. Diehard fans might also be interested in checking out the “Superfan” spot that I directed for the team last year and the editorial feature that I shot for Improper Bostonian Magazine.

 

LIBBY DELANA & COLLABORATION

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Libby DeLana is just the loveliest person. Meeting the sweet and laidback woman, you probably wouldn’t guess that she’s one of the advertising industry’s most successful and influential forces. Multi-talented Libby studied philosophy, trained as a graphic designer, and is now one of the industry’s leading creative directors. She actively advocates for female leadership in and out of the ad world, and is heavily involved with a handful of charities. In her spare time, she founded branding firm Mechanica in 2004 with Ted Nelson and Jim Garaventi. She also describes herself as a devoted mother and wife. Basically, she’s the woman who can do it all.

I’ve worked with Libby on many projects throughout the years. Most recently, we collaborated in January on a shoot for Saucony. Her vision for the campaign was a departure from the typical athletic wear campaign, where you see somebody running down a lonely road or through an urban landscape. Libby wanted to do something more minimalist and artful.

Working with Libby is always great because true collaboration is something she values, which I really appreciate–that’s what this industry should be all about. We had countless phone calls and chats over clamballs at Woodman’s where we bounced ideas off of each other for what the final pictures would look like. On set, she allowed me the creative freedom to deviate from the original plan and play around with light and composition. For example, the black and white portrait of the female model began with a strict lighting set-up and then evolved–or devolved–to a more natural shot taken with available light.

Libby is an inspiration to work with, the kind of woman who could pick a leaf up off the ground and design something around it. Collaborating with her fueled my own creativity, and being able to play off of her was a lot of fun. At the end of the shoot, I dragged her on set to take a couple of photos of her and her striking long, gray hair. I think they really capture her spirit.

Take a look at some photos from the shoot:

PRESS – ESPN THE MAGAZINE

I’m extremely proud to finally be able to share “Water’s Edge,” the feature I shot for ESPN The Magazine of Bill May, “the greatest male synchronized swimmer who ever lived.” Bill May had been retired as a professional athlete for 10 years and was performing in the Cirque du Soleil “O” show out in Vegas when he was yanked out of retirement to train for the milestone of his life: The first ever synchronized swimming world championship to include men.

This piece has been a long time coming–it’s been almost 9 months since my shoot with Bill. Capturing the precision and grace of athletes in motion is difficult enough–just imagine the added inconvenience of maneuvering in the water within a restricted timeframe. I had 30 minutes to shoot as Bill May and his partners Christina Jones and Kristina Lum Underwood on the pool deck. The next 3 hours were spent photographing whatever pictures I could get as they trained, fully focused and totally indifferent to my presence. Afterward, I was given just one controlled half-hour under the water to direct some of the movement.

Some of my favorite photos of last year came came from this shoot. Five of the images from the shoot were recognized at the 2015 International Photography Awards, where I won Sports Photographer of the Year. Some of the pictures will also be included in the American Photography 32 award book, which will be released next November. The AI-AP books are the “first and foremost go-to resources for art directors, designers, photo editors and art buyers who insist on assigning only the best original, thoughtful and compelling pictures.” I’m very happy about both accomplishments.

Check out more of my photos and read about Bill May’s incredible journey at ESPN.com