DPP Home Profiles Jared McMillen: Energy & Emotion

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Jared McMillen: Energy & Emotion

The sports portraiture of Jared McMillen

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Mike Bisping, a UFC fighter out of the UK, training in Las Vegas at the Tapout gym before UFC 100.

A mountain biker in the desert
When Jared McMillen planned for a career in the sports world, it wasn’t as a photographer. He was an athlete, a professional rock climber who lived out of his van when he started documenting his adventures. It wasn’t long before he realized he could earn a better living as a photographer than he could as a climber.

“Climbing is one of the few sports where the photographers actually make a better living than the athletes,” McMillen says, “and I was pretty sick of living in my van. I was looking for a way out, so I started to focus more and more on mainstream sports. If I couldn’t be a professional athlete, the next best thing was creating images of them.”

Carlos Boozer photographed in Las Vegas while he was training with Team USA.
That simple decision has led to a career that might be the perfect fit for McMillen. He doesn’t come across as someone who lives vicariously through the sports he photographs. That’s likely because even though McMillen photographs athletes, he doesn’t do action shots. He makes portraits.

“I’ve shot my share of sports action,” he says, “but never really felt that strong of a connection with the athletes on the field. I didn’t want to shoot athletes on the field; I wanted them to be directly in front of me, and I really wanted to see who they are off the field.”


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