Friday, November 18, 2005

Best photo

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that one of the best photos I had ever taken was of Joan Cleary's son after a mountain bike race. I wanted to include that photo with the post, but couldn't find it at the time. After some digging (i.e. asking Cathy were it was) I found it.

This really doesn't do it justice. Because I don't have a scanner I had to take a photo of a photo, which I don't think quite captures the power of the image. Still, I loved it enough to run a copy, frame it and take it up north with me. I won two awards for that photo. First place at the Atlantic Community Newspaper Awards for Best Sports Photo and a third place for Best Sports Photo at the Canadian Community Newspaper Awards.

It's common among journalist to downplay awards and their meaning. But I was always proud that I won the awards that I did. And especially of the awards for this photo. A year before, the editor of The Packet was roasting me, justifiably, over the quality of my photos. She kept at me enough that I spent the extra time and eventually took this photo.

I'm not pretending I'm a great photographer. But I think among the old Robinson-Blackmore newspaper chain of community weeklies, I was one of the better ones by the time I left The Express.

The story behind this photo: Cleary (I think his first name is Andrew, but I stand to be corrected) was competing in a mountain bike race in Come By Chance. He had already lost. About 50 metres from the finish line, both his legs siezed up - charlie horses. He had to hop the bike the last 50 metres, up hill, screaming in pain all the way.

I had photos of that, but I think this photo, taken after he had crossed the finish line, after he had collapsed and had the charlie horses worked out, where he's just staring at the bike, with pain, misery and hatred, just captures something. It's a very emotional photo. I also love the little details: that he's covered in mud, but one foot is clean becuase he had just taken off his sock. That the bike isn't completely in the photo. And I think it works better in black and white (which is what I shot it in) than it would have in colour.

The one regret I have with it are the people in the background. I wish they weren't there, but you can't always control what's in the background.

Oh, and just in case there are any issues with this, Copyright Craig Welsh and The Packet.

Last 5 on iPod
1. Cautious man - Bruce Springsteen (Tunnel of Love)
2. Bone of an idol - The New Pornographers (Live Session - iTunes Exclusive)
3. Godspeed - Ron Hynes (Face to the Gale)
4. The other side - David Grey (New Day At Midnight)
5. We're so heavy - Matthew Good (White Light Rock and Roll Review)

1 comment:

His Nibs said...

That, my friend, is a great photo. It reminds me of those pics from the great depression, where the pain is written all over people, and small pieces of technology litter the area arround the subject.
I, for one, like the people in the background. You could photoshop them out, but I don't recommend it. They all face in the same direction, the racer towards the bike, the spectators behind the racer. Priceless.