Resonating globally and offering a unique perspective into sports photography, 2POINT8, the new bi-annual magazine, created by sports photographers for sports photographers is showcasing the often underrepresented stories from behind the lens that produced some of the most recognizable sports imagery to date.
Chatting to the photographers that shaped events and sports with their camera, they get beneath the surface of the work to tell the stories of their featured photographers. With their first issue crowdfunded on Kickstarter, issue 1 was designed around the collective story of photography at the Olympic Games. From featuring the work of Legendary photographer Gerry Cranham, to a photographer who was on the International Olympic Committee young photographer program who wanted to shoot her first Summer Games we were captivated. Chatting with co-founder, Michael Owen, we learnt a little more about the kickstarted mag and what to expect from their second issue – which you can pre order now.
What is your first memory of the idea to create a sports photography magazine. How did it all start out?
The idea of the magazine was all of my co-founders Scott Heavey, who was a sports photographer at Getty Images and now runs his own creative agency. We have known each other for years, after I was made redundant by Panasonic last year, we were catching up and Scott mentioned that he had been reading loads of magazines during Lockdown but hadn’t seen one about sports photography. I sat on this for about 24hours and phoned him and said, “let’s do it.” He took the lead on the design and I started work on the editorial and interviewing the photographers we agreed we wanted to approach.
With a summer launch and the impending Olympic Games, we knew this would be a great visual spectacle and we wanted to capture the excitement of events in Tokyo.
What happened next? How did the magazine evolve from a Kickstarter campaign to the high-quality print magazine we see now?
Scott had managed to get a number of great photographers on-board like Tom Jenkins and Adrian Dennis, but we knew we could not afford to pay for the first edition to be created so we decided that Kickstarter was a way we could fund Issue 1 and generate publicity for the magazine as well. We continued to get additional contributors signed up, to ensure we had enough contributors to fill 128 pages. It was touch and go whether we would make our target but we managed it with about 48 hours to go, so we then knew we had 4 weeks to get all the articles done and onto the page to hit our deadline of getting the magazine ready for the Olympics.
In your own words, what is the most poignant element of 2POINT8 magazine? What is/ are the leading ethos in your work?
I have always been a sports fan and having an opportunity to work with the world’s best photographers has always been something that I have enjoyed. Being able to spend time talking to these photographers and getting under the skin of their work is incredibly rewarding and enjoyable. Being able to share the challenges that Tom Jenkins faced in an Olympic stadium when you had British medalists on opposite sides of the stadium – do you stick or twist.
I also had this picture in my mind of what would happen if the world’s websites, newspapers and magazines had no sports photography, if there were no pictures of the superstars or world sport and no sports marketing. The world would look a different place and therefore sports photography is an underrated and undervalued genre. A genre that has so many stories to tell, and we want to help tell those stories.
Why do you think 2POINT8 resonates so well globally and more specifically in today’s current sporting industry culture?
I think we offer a unique perspective on sports photography, we want to tell stories that no-one else is telling, the story behind some of their most iconic images. There is a perception that sports photographers are not photographers, that they are not like other photographers in different genres or artists who are as many others seen as creatives, but this is simply not true. Unlike photographers across other genres, sports photographers will get one chance for that critical moment, that goal, that celebration, that winning minute. There are often hundreds of photographers shooting the same moment so how do you tell your story creatively and in a different way to the other photographers around you?
As photographers yourselves, what importance do you think photography has within the sporting world? What is its role or ability?
Photography is important, especially in sports, photographers are news gatherers and storytellers. So many of the iconic sporting moments are remembered not because of the written word or because of the TV footage but because of the still image, be that Bob Beamon’s leap in Mexico City or Bolt winning his first Gold in Beijing. When we started discussing the magazine, we wondered what newspapers and magazines would be like without the images produced by the hugely talented photographers we featured, but we also wanted to highlight some of the images that may never see the light of day. Just because they may not be seen does not mean they are not good images, sometimes great images just do not get published.
Do you have any tips or advice for others looking to start out in the sports or photography industry?
The best advice I can give is go out and shoot, talk to your local sports clubs and practice. Shoot as many sports as possible in as many different ways as you can. You are not looking for the man kicking the ball or the woman crossing the line, you must put a little bit of yourself into every shot to stand out from the hundreds of other photographers who also want to shoot on the biggest stages of them all.
We are keen to know a little more about the projects and photographers you have worked with or featured in your first issue. Do any of them stand out to you?
Issue 1 was more designed around the collective story of photography at the Olympic Games, from a variety of different angles and different impressions. We had photographers from the British newspaper, a global photo agency or two, the official photographer for Team GB, a photographer who was on the International Olympic Committee young photographer programme who wanted to shoot her first Summer Games, through to an award winning photographer who has shot at a previous Olympics but wanted to get back and shoot a Games once again. We then had the work of Legendary photographer Gerry Cranham who shot the Olympics of the early 1970’s through to Pulitzer Prize winner and large format camera fan David Burnett, who shot the fastest event at the Olympics, the 100m Final with a Large format camera. We were able to wrap Issue 1 with an article from Anthony Edgar, who was Head of Media Operations for the IOC and the man who helped to develop photography at the Olympics into what it is today.
What steps did you take in order to create such a strong artistic direction and brand?
Scott is a creative first and foremost and he has a strong creative vision as to what the magazine looks like, the image selection is very much driven by the words of the photographers. As a magazine it is our responsibility to show the work in the best possible light, we did not get this 100% right in Issue 1 and we have taken design and layout steps to correct this for Issue 2, we are including a few images from Issue 1 in the pages of Issue 2 to give the images the space they deserve.
If 2POINT8 were to only achieve one outcome in reaching a reader, what would you hope is the most significant take away from your publication?
Wow! That is a tough question but I suppose if you boil it all down our objective is to show people that there is more to sports photography than just the few images that get seen in a newspaper, website or magazine. Sports photographers are news gathers, storytellers and artists, it may be controversial, but I would say possibly more so than any other form of photographer do they have to straddle these 3 areas of responsibility.
We’re excited to get our hands on issue #2 after the success of the first edition. What does the upcoming second issue have in store for readers? Anything different/ new/ defining in particular?
The biggest change you will see from Issue 1 is that we are presenting the magazine in a landscape format rather than the traditional portrait format for magazines. We realised when reviewing Issue 1 that the majority of images we included in 2POINT8 were landscape in format, so for a magazine that covers sports photography we need to match the format of the work.
In terms of contributors we have another amazing group, with titles such as ‘…but I am not a sports photographer’, ‘The only woman in the room’, ‘It started with football, fondue and a kangaroo’ and we ask the question ‘Is Sports Photography Art?’. I do not want to give too much away but hopefully that gives a few hints as to some of the articles we are covering in Issue 2.
2POINT8 Magazine is a new biannual sports photography magazine. Created by photographers for photographers and sports fans around the World.