Eye (not) on the Ball

We at the Monday Morning Photo Blog are not what you would call "sport fans," but in honor of the Euro 2004 competition, I present my one and only worthwhile soccer photo.

Update: Chris, of Zeke's Gallery, asked me why I though this was a "good" sports photo. My reaction was to praise its "slice of the moment" quality, but Zeke replied that we (the viewer) don't actually know what the moment is. Obviously a goal is about to be scored, but so what? Is this a practice game? A warm up? The final goal in the season-ender?

Good point.

The truth is, I don't remember (it was a long time ago). But his question made me realize that I was giving the photo a "thumbs-up" based entirely on one thing... the fact that the goalie is looking at the photographer instead of the ball. Otherwise, there's nothing spectacular at all about this shot. It's not particularly well composed, the printing is, frankly, substandard (this is a quickie that I knocked off for the campus newspaper), and reduced for the Web it's hard to even see where the goalie is looking. So in fact, the success of this photo rests upon a single dimension -- the gimmick.

Soccer-eye-closeupSo be it. In fact, a lot of successful photographs ride on a single gimmick, so I'm not going to worry about it too much. However, I'm glad for the intellectual exercise, as it helps explain why this print sat in a box for 18 years before I finally scanned it last week. I knew it was funny, but it just didn't quite go *ding* if you know what I mean.

To make up for it, I present, below, another of my sports photos -- one which could be considered "successful" in the more classical sense. It has good composition, decent printing, and is a "decisive moment." The photo shows Kyle Gayle, a star player for the St. Francis Xavier University basketball team in 1986-87, about to score a shot at the Atlantic Universities Athletic Association (AUAA) championships in Halifax, Nova Scotia in the spring of 1987. St. F.X.U. lost the game -- and the championship -- by one point.


On Mount Tamalpais, CaliforniaPeace on Beach. Julia Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, CaliforniaEye (not) on the BallGraveyard, Northwest Territories, CanadaSprouts