Four Female Sports Photographers Whose Work Inspires
From locker rooms to stadium grounds; from capturing athlete’s greatest victories to their fatal blows; sports photography has to be one of the most exciting niches in the creative industries. The photographers get to immerse themselves in huge competitions all over the world and experience the electric atmosphere right from the sidelines, as well as meet their sporting heroes. Rewarding it may be; however with the pressure to snap the ultimate, unmissable shot, the work is by no means an easy feat. With the recent celebrations of International Women’s Day 2019, we thought we’d share with you the work of four incredibly talented female sports photographers who are making their mark in this tough male-dominated industry.
Brooklyn-based photographer, Cait Oppermann, graduated from Pratt Institute in 2012 and is now, arguably, one of the most sought-after photographers for editorial and sports. In recent years, she’s worked with the likes of Billboard, The New York Times, Nike, and Refinery 29 just to name a few. Growing up with a love of sports, Cait’s desire to turn her lens to the world of sports came naturally. “I’m so interested in athletes and how their body is their work,” she affirms. Her photographs of locker room floors, and sweat-lined temples and chins, complete a portfolio that rigorously documents the realities of sporting life. Cait’s distinctive style has seen her smash into this incredibly competitive industry, and taken her all over the world photographing professional athletes and sporting events. In particular, her shoot for Rapha is one of our favourites here at Mantra. Taken in the Swiss Alps, Cait’s lens takes full advantage of the ridiculously jaw-dropping backdrop to elevate the cycling brand's items of clothing.
Chloe Knott is a sports and portrait photographer currently based in London. Chloe first photographed sports in the summer of 2016, including football, tennis, and polo. From this moment, she was hooked and began to branch out into other sports like boxing, rowing, lacrosse and any other sports she could poke her lens at. Her first taste of working in a professional capacity was in 2017 where she worked for the LTA at The Surbition Trophy and The Southsea Trophy, photographing the grass court tennis season. Since, Knott has gone on to photograph Premier League football, GB Taekwondo, and the European Games in Glasgow. Finally, a career highlight, Knott says, was working for Manchester City Football Club – particularly at the champions’ Parade in May 2018 where she photographed matches and portraits of Manchester City Women. Chloe is certainly flying the flag for Britain and for women sports photographers after being selected for the International Olympic Committee’s inaugural young photographers’ programme at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games. There’s no denying this girl’s talent behind the camera.
Originally from Mexico, Eloisa Sánchez taught herself the ropes with photography from as early as six years old. She started her professional career in 2011, working as a freelancer for Getty Images Latin America. Eloisa is currently based in Mexico City where she works for the official photo agency of the Mexican Football Federation, Imago7. Sánchez's photographic work has been published in The New York Times, ESPN, Fox Sports, Bloomberg, Huffington Post, Récord, El Universal, Proceso, among many other newspapers and magazines. Her content is diverse; spanning across all kinds of sports from boxing to football to motor-racing. Sánchez is a pro when it comes to snapping athletes at pinnacle action moments but doesn’t shy away from portraits either. A well-rounded photographer, Eloisa is going places with her skills!
Hailing from North Carolina, USA, Jenna Miller is a freelance sports photographer with a portfolio that effortlessly captures American sports. Miller has taken photos for the likes of NFL, UNC Athletics, Carolina Blue Magazine, among many others. Her work is diverse; from action shots to athlete portraits. With colours that pop, daring angles, and expressions from her photographees that tell their story in a single snap, Jenna’s work captures the highs and lows of professional sport in sublime fashion. For us here at Mantra, her collection of photographs for UNC Football and UNC Wrestling are stand-out favourites. Whilst her football collection gets up close and personal with the action on the field and is vibrant in colour, her photographs of the UNC Wrestling team tell a more personal narrative to its competitors through black and white imagery. “It’s rare that I convert my sports photographs into black and white but as I was watching these athletes being constantly taken out of their comfort zones, I thought I would take that challenge on for myself as well,” says Miller. Certainly, her omission of colour in these photos eludes to a harrowing narrative among the photographed competitors.
So, there's no questioning the skill of these four photographers when it comes to capturing the victory and heartbreak of professional sport. Each with their own unique style, these creatives gorgeously express athlete's narratives and, together, these four women are proudly waving the flag for female sports photographers around the world. From portraits to action-shots, their portfolios are packed with incredible visuals. We hope you enjoyed getting a glimpse into their immense portfolios and be sure to follow the links to delve in deeper to their individual bodies of work. Who are the women in sports photography who inspire you? Share your shout-outs in the comments below!