– The basics of tennis were explained to me decades ago watching some Boris Becker or Steffi Graf matches with a friend.
– Becoming a fan myself in the first third of the Nadal and Federer era I always was interested in the mental part of the game as well.
– Subscriber of TennisTV.com, Eurosport.
– First live event: Stuttgart ’13.
– 2014: Stuttgart. Roland Garros. Luxemburg.
– Luxemburg 2015 first time with my semi-professional camera. Starting this project.
– 2016. Stuttgart: Strasbourg. Rosmalen. Eastbourne. Several ITF events.
It’s nice how many talents are striving for excellence out there.
Even if the motor for that diligence may be at least in parts a financial one, I never was interested in that. which would be a good thing since probably not many tennis people share this slightly esoteric point of view.As I said, I’m no sports person. My fascination is based on my engagement in eastern philosophies and their esteem of NOW! If I am lucky I’ll manage to find the right words to express that fascination in the upcoming,
The longer I stayed on this path of tennis photography, the friendlier and more trustful reactions I got from many of the players, coaches, mothers, tournament directors, staff members, chair umpires. Lots of nice chats during these two years of fun and perseverance. Could be, that the positive feedback were founded as well in my determination to respect the privacy of the players. I always understood, that there should be kept a healthy distance between the ‘hero(ine)s’ and the witness.
All this of course was quite comfy and encouraging. But on the other hand I often felt misunderstood. Especially some of the spectators, probably mirroring their own phantasies, seemed to be quite sure about my despicable motives.
Unfortunately there are reasons for that distrust.
Unfortunately there are reasons for that distrust. So many strange ‘tennis’ photos in the internet, very rarely worth watching by the way. Especially the voyeuristic on court ones. Those with the most visits. Explicit, ugly and empty. A guy like me by this has to reckon with bad reactions when deciding to work in this field of interest. No one can see from outside, which details I am focusing on.
This whole ero topic is so overcharged nowadays. But it’s important to write about it and I will do so probably. So much confusion attached. New Year Cologne. Burka. ISIS. Boko Haram. MeToo. – Beauty is the thing. The medicine. The counterweight on the one pan of the world’s lunatic scale with all its ugliness and menace on the other one. Beauty. Let’s fight for beauty!
Let’s fight for beauty! Following that motto I didn’t refrain completely from portraying things like these. The players voluntarily offering these aspects of their personality always seemed to know, that they could trust me with this, which was the right thing to assume and for which I want to express my gratefulness here. They are mere by-products and I don’t have many of them.
Much more important to me is the news, that I have added over 400 pics to the → Gallery 2 by now. These randomly displayed photos in addition to the → Daily Five , which draw on the resources of meanwhile over 900 fully edited results with much more to be expected, give the true impression of what I’m after here. Every day I spend quite a time with the files. So it took over an hour just to add the player’s names to this ‘Gallery 2’…
“The most beautiful curve on a woman’s body is her smile.” – Bob Marley
Much I had to sort out. The remaining 30 – 20% are pretty much worth it and the harvest I had hoped for. One has to be a little bit stubborn sometimes, I guess.
As most of the players are rather decent and down-to-earth individuals, I very rarely met vanity or ‘big ego’ on the way, almost never in the upper segment. There is an english saying I always loved. “Those who matter don’t mind. Those who mind, don’t matter.”
“Those who matter don’t mind. Those who mind, don’t matter.”
Now’s the time to concentrate on the material. Could even be that I sell my equipment again. If my vision comes to life and there will be some publications with my photos, I may return to that path later. Or go another one…
As the name implies, the intention here is in documenting the beauty, not only of the players and the sport itself, but of the whole ambience, the surroundings, all those small situations which make the WTA, the ITF etc. and their events always interesting, sometimes amusing and often fascinating.
Some excessive ambition in tennis as well. Hard competition makes the borders between enthralling verve and mere grim catfight pretty fluent now and then. Some people much smarter than me say, that the most important phases in the personal development of an individual are what they call ‘bottleneck’ situations. Moments in life, where it becomes narrow and uncomfy, which indicates an upcoming growth of character due to some learning process which wouldn’t have been possible without these temporary inner plights. In tennis every ball, that comes your way, is a guru as far, as this phenomenon is concerned.
“Forever is composed of nows.”
― Emily Dickinson
The player’s reward for exposing themselves freely to it is a flood of cathartic moments. If they manage to enjoy that is, instead of being frustrated with single failures which tend to pile up then to Mount Everests with the avalanches of disappointment generously rattling down on you. So much psychology in it, which utterly mesmerizes me without preventing me from worshipping the sporting and aesthetic aspects.
I’ll never will cease being fascinated by those ITF matches without ballkids, where the returning player always has to provide the one on serve with the balls. If nothing else would, this permanent alternation of competition and cooperation finally would make the fabulous sport called tennis unique and veritably special to me.
- The point here is to celebrate the aspects of flow, abandon, presence, vigilance, strength and shine of beautiful WTA and the human side behind the scenes.
There is much to spot!
Taking single pics without any motor usage I’m always happy with these shots showing the ball at or very close to the racket. In fact nowadays I often focus on the ball much more than on the player. Of course it’s not very polite to say that, but it’s true, and truth is beauty (Keats). If it’s not about ambience, motion or emotions, I like to synchronize with the moment of hitting. That’s, why for me the ball is the star. But of course without all those exquisite, talented and wonderful ‘actresses in the supporting role’ the star would be nothing.
The pro sports photographers have better equipment. One colleague was friendly enough one day to offer me a swap of lenses for about two hours. After having tested his much better one I told him jestingly, that of course I would have to kill him now in order to keep that fabulous treasure for my own. Watching the harvest that night on the computer screen I found the technically brilliant results magnificient… …and a bit boring.
Having to deal with some restrictions as far as the gear is concerned brings out the artist in me. Many of the photos I elect now as good enough for being published in greyscale would appear too grainy in color due to bad indoor light situations. In fact the whole ‘Wallpaper’ thing, which really is fun and seems to have some good reactions by the viewers as well, started with photos, which would have been waste due to technical issues and which I tried to ‘rescue’ through the process of post-production.
Motor usage would keep me from being as alert and awake as the players themselves, which in fact is the thing which interests me the most in tennis photography. I don’t have to deliver quickly and so I would invest an unattended flush of money rather in travel expenses than in a better camera. Well, one or two premium lenses probably would not kill my creativity. But it’s always rewarding to be content with less.
P.S.: Someone meaning well just reminded me to mention the fact, that I never use any of the camera’s other automations as well but do everything manually instead…
As I used to live as a pro musician for most of my life here’s one of my songs.
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