The Art of Sport is a book about sport, but not only this: it is also a book about the beauty, the unexpected, the grace, the anguish, the triumph and the pain of sport.
In this collection, Reuters photographers have captured the significance of moments in time. More often than not the photograph needs no caption: it tells its own story more vividly than words can.
Sometimes the picture is so perfect in its detail and perspective that it looks as if it has been posed, but it has not.
Reuters photographers cover the world’s events as they happen and capture images of breaking news and sport for the daily news file. They work in the most competitive circumstances but many of their pictures, such as the ones assembled in this book, are remarkable in ways that mean the shots outlive their immediate news value.
Curiosity, persistence, patience, precision, the best angle and a sense of perspective are the ingredients of a great photograph. The photographer has to exhibit real vision and talent to get more than just a record of the event.
The military precision of pursuit cycling is frozen by Dan Chung in the cover picture. The blurred background is the only indication of the riders’ speed.
All the poise balance and agility of a gymnast is captured in the back cover frame by Mike Blake, in his shot of a young Spaniard with a hole in her shoe, balancing on the beam at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
The Art of Sport is a collection of pictures in the broadest sense. There are few ‘decisive moments’, no winning goals nor holes in one. The pictures represent sports photography beyond the cut and thrust of daily competition and many immortalize key moments in history. The Afghan boxer exercising under a poster of Muhammad Ali in a small Kabul boxing club after the fall of the Taliban is one of these moments. Under the strict Taliban rule boxing was condemned and Damir Sagolj’s picture encompasses a return to freedom – as well as the immortality of Ali.
This book is dedicated to all Reuters staff and freelance photo-journalists. Without their vision and enterprise it would not have been possible to produce such a compelling collection. In the last year, twelve Reuters photographers have received international awards for their outstanding work.