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Panpa Bulletin : May 2010
WHEN you look at photographer Craig Golding's sports images, the human body becomes poetry. Awk- wardly stretched limbs pierce the lim- its of possibility while being dwarfed by architectural structures or nature. As the sports photographer for one of Australia's flagship broadsheet, the Sydney Morning Herald, for over 23 years, the body of work Craig has produced is staggering in its breadth and beauty. Most recently, Craig shot the World Masters Games for Getty Images, recently winning a prestigious World Press Photo award in the sports story category. The World Masters Games is an in- ternational event in which individuals aged from 35 and many much older compete in Olympic-style events. Pensioners don their country's swimwear and leotards, octogenar- ians throw javelins and race mara- thons, and a 100-year-old woman took part in the shot put. "Elderly people playing sport, it's a great combination" says Craig, "It was an amazing event." The World Masters Games is a world away from the young, ultra- fit bodies Craig usually snaps, and far removed from the large sums of money involved in sponsorship deals and the political intricacies of profes- sional sport. "When you're shooting profes- sional sports people, there are huge egos involved. If they don't like the colour of your shirt, they want you moved," says Craig. "At the World Masters Games, they were all happy to see you there to get coverage. These people were out there to have a good time. Their whole life didn't depend on if they won or lost." In a sports world increasingly dom- inated by the interests of sponsors, multi-million dollar betting agencies and powerful sporting administra- tors, sports photography has become a highly regulated business. It was only last month that a major long-standing battle between Australian sporting bodies, such as Cricket Aus- tralia and the AFL, and news publishers finally ended. It reined in a two-year ban on agency photographers attending Aussie Rules games. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Australian Government body respon- sible for regulating fair trading, had to wield its power to get the snappers back in the ground. "The sporting bodies want com- plete control over the images of their sport and to control whose making money out of it," comments Craig, who knows all too well about the political nature of sports coverage in Australia. "It's not legitimate. The public de- serves to be able to see coverage that isn't controlled by the bodies that run the sports." But for Craig, getting into a major sporting event is sometimes the least of his worries. Once inside, accredited photog- raphers are designated a small area from which they can shoot. Even if the perfect angle is 10 feet away, he's not allowed outside his boundaries. They are also not allowed to stand in front of sponsorship banners which dominate almost every passage of vi- sion at major sporting events. "I was covering the Iron Man race the other day out at Cronulla (beach- side suburb of Sydney). "I was waiting for the start of the race, the competitors were lined up ready to run and someone was franti- cally waving saying, 'Get out, you've got to move because you're in the Fox (TV) shot!'. "Half the time, I wonder if they want still coverage." After a 23-year stint at the Sydney Morning Herald, Craig jumped ship in 2008 taking a redundancy. With 35 International Awards, including six World Press Photo awards, and more than 70 National photographic awards, the freelance world beckoned. He now makes a living from a fruit- ful relationship with Getty Images, through which the World Masters Games images were published, plus work for corporate clients, such as J.P. Morgan. Craig's move from the newspaper world, to working as freelancer, tells a bigger story about industry-scale changes. The economic trend shows pub- lishers laying off staff snappers and sourcing more images from agencies. "As far as photo-journalism goes in Australia, it's really changing," says Craig. "Everyone is getting similar pictures. When you have your own staff photographers, you're getting your individual take on stories, pic- torially." Craig has had to adapt to the changes and is flourishing. "It's nice to pick up the World Press Photo award. I had been associated with the Sydney Morning Herald for all those years, so to have left and gone out to freelance, well, it's nice to get recognition of your work." S lH PHOTOGRAPHER PROFILE See more photos and listen to the interview with Craig Golding by scanning the code with your mobile, or go to http://bit.ly/9OZNlR www.panpa.org.au Santa Claus aged 80, swimming at World Masters Game. Just one of the images which won Craig Golding a World Press Photo award Craig used a Canon EOS 1 D Mark 11N for the World Masters Games. He is now using the updated Canon EOS 1D Mark 1V camera. His lenses range from 16mm to 400mm ebecca Leaver NPA 16 | The PANPA Bulletin | MAY 2010 Master of his own destiny 1 2 3 4 1. Craig Golding; 2. A sumo wrestler lifts a small boy as part of the entertainment before the Australian Grand Sumo Tourna- ment, 1997; 3. Virginia Hoover from Canada dives off the 3metre spring board at the World Masters Games; 4. Newcastle's Paul Harragon (LEFT) and Manly's John Hopoate, battle on the field during the 1995 Rugby League semi final