A Great Day For Sports Photography?

photo equipment on green grass

I guess it depends on how you look at it.

(NOTE: before you post a comment; please read Mike’s comments in the next post below, which explains what happened, and why FSU is absolutely not to blame).

You all know that on Monday we announced the winner for our “Shoot on The Sidelines with Scott & Mike,” contest, and Alex Walker, a really talented amateur sports photographer from Virginia won with an incredible shot of his son taken during a soccer (football) match.

You probably also know that a very vocal group of sports photographers were outraged at the fact that we did this contest in the first place. They didn’t feel an amateur, no matter how talented, had any place in “their world.” They were very bitter, angry, and made it very clear in online forums that having the winner on the sidelines was absolutely unacceptable.

But they didn’t stop there.

We just got word that these photographers were so upset that some of them contacted Florida State University directly, and told them they were making a mistake by letting an amateur “run amok” on the sidelines. This was dangerous. It’s not a good decision. This “amateur” has no business on the sidelines, and they should pull his sidelines pass!

Apparently, these angry sports photographers were very convincing. Florida State felt they had no choice but to rescind his pass Now, Alex will not get to shoot on the sidelines at the Florida State game.

Congratulations. You were able to steal Alex’s dream of shooting a big time game from the sidelines.

Yesterday I called Alex and told him the news. As you might imagine, he was very disappointed, but as good a photographer as Alex is, he’s even more of a gentleman and took the news like a pro.

He was already aware of the angry, hateful comments posted by some of these photographers, but I don’t think he ever thought it would come to this. Nevertheless, he was still grateful to have his photo chosen, and I’m sending him a bunch of cool goodies to, in some small way, take the sting out of losing out on such a wonderful opportunity, but obviously it won’t replace what was taken from him.

So, I guess these sports photographers felt it was really important for them to keep Alex off the sidelines, even though doing so:

  1. Wouldn’t put a dime in their pockets
  2. Wouldn’t in any way help their careers
  3. And wouldn’t impact their livelihood in any way

But they did manage to take a lifelong dream away from a very kind, talented dad, who just loves taking shots of his son.

My congratulations to this group of sports shooters on being able to convince Florida State University to change their mind. You should be very proud, and celebrate this great day for sports photography.

  1. I know this is an old thread, but it bears repeating that any pro that is afraid of competition, isn’t really a pro.

    Do you think Bjorn Borg in his heyday was afraid of playing a high school amatuer tennis player? That Brett Favre during his career would have been afraid of playing against a high school coach?

    Enough said.

  2. This is old, but I can tell you, as a beggining photographer, I went to fredmiranda.com to seek critique and advise, and while I got some great advice, a couple of the pro sports shooters that are members of sportsshooter just bashed me, and started whining and crying about people ruining the photography buisness.  Ive never seen so much crying in my life.  They need a serious wake up call.

  3. I’ve been a photojournalist for 20 years now and these photographer that took this opportunity away from Alex should remember that at one time they were on the sidelines for the first time. They were Jerks and should be ashamed of them selves. I shoot at small college and high school mostly. I’m all the time helping out that student with a camera or that photographer that is on the sidelines for the first time. I really think those guys had nothing to worry about.

  4. Here, here! Obviously the regular sideline crowd has little confidence in their own work. Send them back to PeeWee ball. Alex, if I were you, I would simple out-shoot them and present your photos to the world.

  5. I realize this is quite late but I have to comment on the “professional” photographers that got upset and protested. A true professional works to encourage, explain, inspire, educate and recruit non-professionals into the profession. I dare you to find any successful person regardless of the job that was not helped/mentored on their way up. So while those that complained may make a living in sports photography, by failing to meet the inherent duties of a professional, they are not professionals.

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