Gold medal photographers: Sports photographers artistically capture defining moments in history


posted Friday, August 5, 2016 at 3:30 PM EST


Sports photography is not simply about capturing a particular moment in a game or match, but it can also be about creating art. Patrick Sauer writes for Signature Reads that sports photographers have often lived as underappreciated artists, visionaries who have given us still frames that perfectly immortalize our special sports memories. Perhaps younger basketball fans will look at this image of LeBron James from this year's NBA final as one of their favorite sports photos of all time. Others may recall this shot of Muhammed Ali.

No matter which sports photo stands atop your mental podium, it's clear that for sports fans, it's art. But what about for those of us who don't care about sports -- can an excellent sports photo still hold value? Gail Buckland has been writing about photographic history for many years and her latest book, "Who Shot Sports: A Photographic History from 1843 to Present" turns the focus on the greatest sports photos and photographers throughout history. Buckland herself is not a sports fan and this is a large part of what makes her take on sports photography so interesting. She takes a long look at what motivates sports photographers and how they were able to capture their iconic images. For more on Buckland, read Sauer's full article here. Also, if you happen to be in New York City, Buckland has an exhibition to accompany the book at the Brooklyn Museum.

Sauer answers the question about whether or not sports photography is art very well in his piece: "Critics can debate whether sports photography is art. Or, no, they can't. It is." I completely agree. While art is hard to define, it seems that a photograph which evokes emotion in those who understand its context -- but also elicits appreciation from those who don't -- certainly fits the bill.

Readers, what are some of your favorite sports photos? Do you believe that sports photography can be art? Let us know in the comments below.

(Seen via Signature Reads. Index image)