Update: Joe has responded to his critics on the APF Correspondent page, written by Marlowe Hood. View the story here.
After looking at the work of US Olympic team photographer Joe Klamar’s portraits on a CBS news gallery, we were appalled. We know that studio space and time can be tight sometimes, but a pro can make the most of a bad situation. These Olympic photos have bad lighting, composition, angles and poses. We’d like to know why they were released. The background paper is ripped and limbs are cut off.
Klamar appears to be an AFP / Getty images contributor from Europe. Based on the work on his website, he appears to be a great photojournalist. However, there isn’t much lit portraiture on his website. Lighting athletes on a seamless backdrop with limited space and time is tough for any photographer. Experience matters.
Klamar’s photos were taken at a media summit. These sessions are also known as “photo day” or “media day” and can be best described as organized chaos. Remember photo day in high school? It’s like that, except there’s dozens of photographers in a small area. At a recent Yankees “photo day,” space was so limited that photographer Nick Laham had to set up in a bathroom… and you’d never know it.
Here are a few of Klamar’s images which have sparked outrage from photographers worldwide.
Below is an example of what “photo day” looks like at the Yankees spring training camp in Tampa. There were many more photographers indoors in locker rooms, meeting rooms and other empty spaces. Hours before the athletes arrive, credentialed photographers from many media agencies set up flashes, stands and backgrounds inside and outside to make portraits of the team. The media agencies use the images throughout the year for news stories. Photographers have anywhere between 15 seconds and 2 minutes with each athlete.
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