With a layered and exciting composition, this year’s Best Photograph of the Year captured Erhan Masovic's goal celebration after scoring a penalty received an outstanding amount of votes. After the awards, we spoke to Panenka Magazine, about the motivations behind providing recognition for sports photographers.
There are those who, convinced of the objectivity of the numbers, give an award for the top scorer in a season. Others, more subjective, choose to honor the best player. There are even those who, reducing a team sport to an ode to the individual, choose the best young player, the best revelation, the best coach, the best goalkeeper, the best defender, the best midfielder and the best striker.
For the eighth consecutive year, Panenka paid tribute to figures of our sport for their cultural, social and triumphant values. Working in partnership, we were honored to be a part of this year’s awards in celebration of soccer culture and the names on the other side of the camera. Voted for by the public, NordPhoto’s Sarah Rauch, a German sports photographer was the winner of this year’s Best Photograph of the Year – announced in Barcelona earlier this month.
“For Panenka magazine, quality photography is a fundamental hallmark. For this reason, the award for the best photograph of the year is to highlight the work of thousands of photography professionals in football”
We chatted with the Spanish mag about the awards, their inception and why acknowledging sports photographers are the driving force behind their work.
How were the awards for you?
A great experience. After a year without an audience due to Covid, having contact with our readers and friends again was the best. We were able to count on Kun Agüero on a video call and other great professionals from the football culture. Nice day.
In your expert opinion – what elements do you think made Sarah Rauch’s photo the winner?
The moment captured. It explains all of football in a single image: victory and defeat in a goal celebration. Also special is the focus on the background with the protagonist of the celebration, blurring the goalkeeper in the foreground.
In the 8 years of holding the awards for the best sports photographers – what have you learnt from the people you have either collaborated with or from the photographers themselves?
Above all, we have confirmed that photography in football and in any sport is an essential part of talking about it. There are great professionals in this field and they love their profession. You cannot make a magazine like Panenka without taking care of the photography that is published.
We were very proud to be a part of the Premios Panenka this year, celebrating the culture of football in its entirety – how do you think sports photography impacts sports culture in today’s climate?
Sports photography is more important than ever. In a time when everything is going fast, no one has time to stop to read a long article, an image that explains what is happening is essential. And luckily there are very good professionals who achieve it.
Via the awards, Panenka aims to give recognition to sports photographers. In your opinion, why is it so important to give sports photographers this prominence?
Because without them football culture would not be possible. A photographer is as important as a writer.
“For Panenka magazine, quality photography is a fundamental hallmark.” – Can you tell us a bit more about this ethos?
Our magazine is different. We want to take care of the stories we tell such as design, image, presence. That is why it is so important to differentiate ourselves through different, high-quality photographs.
What do you look for in a good sports photograph for editorial inclusion in your mag or in general to iconize sports moments?
What an impact on the reader. We have 116 pages each month that have to impact the reader and make them think and learn. Photography is what can make stories understood, what allows you to travel to other countries and other times in history.
What advice would you give to an emerging sports photographer looking to gain recognition?
Make the photographs with feeling. That he try to capture in his photos his vision of the world. Enjoy his work because it’s exciting.