One of the best sports photos you can get is the happy face of a winner adjacent to the visibly disappointed loser.
It was the thrill of victory for the heavyweight winner, right, after defeating his disconsolate opponent in their Golden Gloves fight at the Lowell, Ma. Auditorium (© Michael Maher, The Lowell (Ma.) Sun).
The annual Golden Gloves boxing tournament brings out a very passionate crowd cheering through every minute of the bouts. Usually the best boxing picture is of fighters landing a punch, with both fighters’ faces showing, and some spit or sweat spraying in the air. On this night, during a preliminary round match, two boxers were going at it aggressively, with each landing several solid punches. Throughout the three rounds, each fought exceptionally well and landed a similar number of good blows. While I had a few solid action shots, I anticipated there might be a more powerful emotion picture coming after the fight. The winner would be announced with the loser standing beside him, and each had a chance to be declared the victor. When the fight ended, the referee stood in the middle of the ring holding each boxer’s arm while they waited for the decision. Finally, after a long wait (no doubt it was hard for the judges to decide), the winner was announced, and his face broke into a huge smile of elation, while the dejected loser’s body and head sank in disappointment. The contrast between the winner and loser’s expressions and body language told the whole story, and was a great example of a victor and vanquished shot, where one image captures both “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”
1) Whenever possible, capture the emotion of a winner and a loser in the same photo.
2) The greater the suspense and uncertainty over who will win, the more likely you will see strong emotional reactions.
3) Shoot closely enough to clearly see the expression on each player’s face, which is the most important element of your photo