Tell me about your photo

Trampoline – Training, Blake Gaudry (AUS).

Trampoline – Training, Blake Gaudry (AUS).

We attribute to pretty much every kind of Olympic athlete some kind of special athletic ability, and this guy was able to fly, which most of us will never do.

I walked into the training room and there was this gymnast working on his routines. It was fantastic. I was trying to capture, in the simplest way, the isolation of him flying, floating through the air within that big space. In this picture it looks like he’s just been frozen in mid-air, like he’s a little angel with wings.

Trampoline gymnastics is another one of those sports that are quite astonishing. It’s not simply that he is getting up into the air six, seven, eight metres, but when he’s up there, then he has to be a gymnast and do things that most of us couldn’t do anyway. And then, when he’s done, he kind of lands. His legs have that give … and bang, he’s down, and he’s just another earthbound human.

burnett - David Burnett

Men’s diving – Training, a diver, up in the air.

There are no magical techniques. This was just the perfect lighting and the perfect athlete and I had the perfect position.

This was a very special day for me because it was the first day that I shot sports in Rio, and the first time ever that I shot backstage training photos at the Games, even though this was my eighth Olympics. So, backstage training was a very new territory for me, and I really fell in love with it from the start.

I took a lot of photos of the divers that day, and it was one of my best and favourite shoots of the whole Games. For this picture I was positioned right behind the springboard where they bounce off, a place I would never be allowed during a competition. And that’s why it also looks different from what we are used to seeing. It looks like he’s maybe falling from above, but he’s not: he has actually sprung up into this position.

I also really like the lighting of this particular photograph. Of course it didn’t hurt that the clouds were so beautiful and that he was in a perfect position.

Kasapoglu - Mine Kasapoglu Puhrer

Men’s diving – Training, a diver, up in the air.
Equestrian / Eventing – Marcus James Todd and Leonidas II (NZL).

Equestrian / Eventing – Marcus James Todd and Leonidas II (NZL).

They both just look completely relaxed and in harmony, rather than it being one of those ones where the animal’s either not comfortable or the human’s not comfortable.

This is the one of the very rare occasions where I actually had an athlete pose for a portrait. The photo was taken in the stable area, which is usually an off-limits sort of area, but I was able to get access. The athlete was very relaxed and his horse was very cooperative, just keeping his head straight. You can clearly see that there is a relationship between these two… these two particular subjects just seem to belong together.

I shot this with a medium-format camera, a 60-megapixel back camera, which is a very unusual one to use at the Olympic Games, because you have to have the right setting, the right light and everything to be able to make it work well.

huet - John Huet

Men’s rugby sevens – The teams from Fiji (FIJ) 1st, Great Britain (GBR) 2nd and South Africa (RSA) 3rd together on the podium.

Men’s rugby sevens – The teams from Fiji (FIJ) 1st, Great Britain (GBR) 2nd and South Africa (RSA) 3rd together on the podium.

You don’t usually see that camaraderie, that united sense of “we’re all rugby players”. You’ll see all three teams pose but they won’t mix like they did here.

This picture was taken after the first medals were given out for men’s rugby since the Olympic Games in 1924. After the medal ceremony all the teams, so the gold, silver and bronze teams, got together for a picture. And there I was, in a sea of a hundred photographers, trying to get a picture of everybody standing together, celebrating. And I thought it was a really cool thing because you don’t see that very often. I don’t know if the teams realised the impact of it, whether it was completely spontaneous. I think it was spontaneous, that they all just know each other really well or had a great experience together.

burnett - Jason Evans

Swimming, men’s 50m freestyle – Qualification, Meli Malani (FIJ) (gold swimming cap), Ahmed Attellesey (LBA) (black swimming cap) and Dulguun Batsaikhan (MGL) (red swimming suit).

I was amazed when I saw this picture at how each swimmer was doing his own version of getting into the pool

I wanted to do something that was a little less about who won the race and more about the amazing athleticism that you see at the beginning of a race. So here I tried to capture what happens in between all those blurs that we see when swimmers leap into the water because, when everybody goes in, it’s like a swirl of activity, and you really don’t see with your eye the kind of individual motion that each person is doing. You think they’re all doing the same thing and what you realise here is that you’ve got arms up, arms down, arms down with the hands back… and everybody’s got their own way of doing it.

It really happens so fast. The key is to have a camera that shoots super high frame rates, and then you go in and you just look at each frame, which will be very different to the one before and the one after although there’s maybe only a 30th of a second between them. With the advancement of technology in the last 10 years, cameras can shoot so much faster so we’re starting to see pictures that didn’t really exist before.

burnett - David Burnett

Swimming, men’s 50m freestyle – Qualification, Meli Malani (FIJ) (gold swimming cap), Ahmed Attellesey (LBA) (black swimming cap) and Dulguun Batsaikhan (MGL) (red swimming suit).
Synchronized swimming, women’s duets – Training, the swimmers’ legs

Synchronized swimming, women’s duets – Training, the swimmers’ legs.

You just walk around looking for the next opportunity, and if one slips, you just go for the next, and then it’s like an adventure!

I was shooting gymnastics that day, but it had ended early. I had some time so I decided to walk around the Olympic Park, in the backstage/training area. I saw that there was a diving competition going on, so I tried to get in but couldn’t find my way. Somebody told me to walk around the venue and there I saw the synchronised swimming teams training in the practice pool outdoors. I didn’t even know that it existed. The light was really beautiful at the time, it was right before sunset. So, I saw an opportunity there… and forgot about the diving!

When I arrived there I saw all these big groups of synchronised swimming teams all practising together, all around me, really close to me. In this photo you can see in the background six, seven of them standing. While I was taking this, right next to me there was another team getting ready, stretching. And I was really in the middle of all this… I could just see how much they had worked, how fit they were, and these were the last few training sessions before their competitions. There was so much potential energy about to be released into the world… and the whole world was about to watch them.

Kasapoglu - Mine Kasapoglu Puhrer

Wrestling – wrestlers training.

It was such an unusual thing to watch, to experience… I have to say that it was quite extraordinary, the idea that they just all mucked in together and got on with it.

This picture was taken in the wrestling training area, before the Games started. I saw the Cuban team walking in, along with the odd few members of other teams, and all of a sudden it became this joint practice. Leading the way was this huge Cuban heavyweight, a multiple gold medallist. He didn’t speak a lot, but they started doing laps around the two mats, and then they started doing all these calisthenics around two mats and other routines.

Next, I saw this huge man bend over and put his elbows on his knees, and the guy behind him leapfrog over the top of him and stop in front of him, and then he bent over. And it went on from there.

After that, for the next hour-and-a-half, they just wrestled the whole time, pairing up with people from other countries. And they did this so they weren’t wrestling against the same person all the time. I think the athletes from the other countries were really psyched about the fact that they could wrestle with the Cubans.

huet - John Huet

Wrestling – wrestlers training.
Men’s football – Final, Germany (GER) 2nd – Brazil (BRA) 1st. During penalty shoot-outs, Neymar Jr scores against Germany.

Men’s football – Final, Germany (GER) 2nd – Brazil (BRA) 1st. During penalty shoot-outs, Neymar Jr scores against Germany.

Everyone in the crowd is holding their heads, holding the tension, because they haven’t realised yet that the goal has been scored.

For the penalties, I decided to focus on the crowd. Both teams had scored their first four penalty shots. And this came down to the fifth penalty shot. If Neymar scored this goal, then they would win, and if he did not score, then they would go to more penalty kicks.

In this picture you can see the Brazilians all on their knees praying; you’ve got Neymar, you’ve got the ball going the other way… They have just won and the crowd is about to erupt.

I was like: alright, I know that there will be pictures of the goal, there will be pictures of Neymar celebrating, and those are fine and great, they are important pictures to take. But the crowd is the story here because that’s what we kept hearing about in Rio. So I shot everything that was happening with the crowd in focus. The team kneeling down is out of focus, Neymar and the goalie are out of focus, but the crowd itself is in sharp focus.

Evans - Jason Evans