I have had the privilege over my photography career to be a team photographer on a few different levels. The short term team photographer usually only covers a team with the job lasting a day or two. During those days you may briefly meet a few key team players that the press would need images for to help cover a story. Or, you might also cover the game and submit images after. Whatever the case is, even in that short period, you would see the team bond and could feel their passion in your images. In all teams there are your characters. The jokester or the clown, the scholar, the leader, the enforcer and the Golden Child. Capturing those characters, as well as the action of the game, has always thrilled me.
In an entirely different class is the team photographer. This photographer gets to spend game after game in the nitty gritty with the team.
Between the benches, or "suicide box" is were the action really happens! From the team banter, coaching encouragement to all the smells and thrills, this is a prime location to get to "know" the teams, players and coaching staff. Most of the time, you will also be down and around the dressing rooms with the team. ( ya, more of those wonderful smells). Honestly just treated as one of the team. You can capture a lot of great candid images this way! When you are part of a younger aged team, like an SJHL or WHL team, you have many wonderful families all cheering for their favorite player. As the team photographer, you will get to meet them. I have had the honour of creating lasting pieces of art for my team. These art pieces are loved by the billet families, player families and the players themselves.
As the team photographer you will get to capture the highs and lows of your team. When they are winning and when they are losing, you and your camera are there for it all.
The team photographer will attend every home game and capture the love of the fans. You will see them wearing their hearts on their sleeves... and their faces....and even sometimes permanently...
Recently our province, and one of our teams, has been hit with an unexplained tragedy. The world has seen the faces of 16 team members that have lost their lives. The world has seen team photos, everything from action shots to the classic team photo and our hearts hurt for them.
As well as the players, the coaches, the trainers, the parents and billet families, my mind thinks of the team photographer. See, this person was there at the home games and captured the fans showing their love for their hometown heroes. That photographer was there by the benches getting to know those players when they were doing what they love. That person has sat for hours in front of their computer wondering if that image does that player proud. That team photographer has most likely met and talked to most player families and most players billet families.
Let me just say, that I know that you are not just the team photographer. You are also one of the team.