Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Peter Read Miller - Let The Games Begin...
The 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens saw the Games return to Greece and marked the first time digital cameras captured the bulk of the action
The sporting event of 2004 was undoubtedly the Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. As one of Sports Illustrated's veteran staff photographers, Peter Read Miller is at the pinnacle of the sports journalism field. In the summer of 2004, between knee surgery and the beginning of football season, Miller was assigned, along with most of the best sports photographers in the world, to chronicle the historic 2004 Summer Games.
For the photo corps in Athens, the Games marked a turning point. Up to this iteration of the Olympics, digital technology, while very good, wasn't the mainstay of most pros' equipment. In 2000, the digital SLRs on the market were largely too slow and temperamental to be relied upon by working pros in a setting like the Olympics. At any sports event, the action moves fast. At the Olympics, you're coupling fast action with once-in-a-lifetime moments so there's no margin for error whatsoever. In that kind of a pressure-cooker atmosphere, you go with what works and, in 2000, film worked while digital...almost worked.
In 2000, the workflow for most pros went like this: Get up, check camera and lenses, pack brick of film (brick n 1: a package of 40 rolls of roll film; 2: heavy, rectangular piece of masonry used in construction or as a doorstop), head to the venue, shoot (that is, load film, shoot, advance, rewind, unload, repeat), rush or have an assistant rush the film to FedEx for express mailing to the home office, and hope all the film was properly composed and exposed. For those of us used to a digital workflow, that process seems wrought with pitfalls and potential for outright missed photographs. And that's not even mentioning the stress of not knowing if you got the shot!