In Pictures

In pictures: The Olympics caught on camera

Veteran photographer Elsa Garrison is part of Getty Images's team of 40 specialist sport photographers who will be at this year's Olympic Games in Rio which begin on 5 August. Here Garrison has picked out some of her favourite images from past Olympics.

Timea Nagy of Hungary celebrates retaining the gold medal in the women's fencing individual epee gold medal match Image copyright Jamie Squire / Getty Images
Image caption Timea Nagy of Hungary celebrates retaining the gold medal in the women's fencing individual epee gold medal during the 2004 Olympics in Athens

What grabs my attention in this picture is the sheer joy in Timea Nagy's face after retaining the gold medal for women's fencing. I am drawn to reaction pictures as they really show the human aspect of the sport. It doesn't matter if it is a winning moment or a moment of defeat, these types of pictures tell the best story.

Grey line 2 pixels
Fanny Blankers-Koen wins the 100m Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Fanny Blankers-Koen (far right) of the Netherlands finishes first in the women's 100m during the 1948 Games in London

Taken at the 1948 Olympic Games, this picture illustrates a moment that photographers strive to capture at every Olympic Games. Technology and demands for imagery have changed significantly since then, but the moments we look to capture have not.

What is great about this picture is that unlike today, this image then was a lot harder to get. It was shot on film - which had exposure limitations. The camera had no motor drive so you had one chance to get it right. And you had to manually focus on runners coming towards you.

Today, you still need a lot of skill to capture such a moment, but there are a lot more demands to get more out of each one. We are shooting multiple remote cameras at the same time as we are using our camera in our hands to get as many views of that one moment as possible.

Grey line 2 pixels
Opening ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Image copyright Adam Pretty / Getty Images
Image caption Nikki Webster is the centre of attention during the opening ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Games

The opening ceremony for the Olympic Games is always a show of pageantry. This image from the Sydney Olympics is a nice artistic view of the scene inside the stadium. The clever use of colour and light draw you into the frame. The composition reminds me of a blooming flower.

Grey line 2 pixels
Usain Bolt of Jamaica reacts after breaking the world record Image copyright Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images
Image caption Usain Bolt of Jamaica breaks the world record with a time of 19.30 seconds to win the gold medal in the men's 200m final at the National Stadium during Day 12 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

This picture has a nice clean background so the celebration of Usain Bolt jumps out at you. You feel as if you are right there with him.

Grey line 2 pixels
Natalia Pereira of Brazil celebrates Image copyright Elsa Garrison / Getty Images
Image caption Natalia Pereira of Brazil celebrates the win over Russia in the women's volleyball quarter-finals in London

What I like about this picture is you have happiness and sadness all in the same frame. This was from the quarter-finals at London's Earl's Court in 2012.

In my opinion, emotion pictures tell more of a story than action pictures in sport photography.

Grey line 2 pixels
Coach Bela Karolyi carries an injured yet triumphant Kerri Strug of the United States Image copyright Doug Pensinger / Getty Images
Image caption Coach Bela Karolyi carries an injured yet triumphant Kerri Strug of the United States after she received her gold medal in the women's team gymnastics competition at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia

This is the moment I remember from the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Gymnast, Kerri Strug completed a vault while injured to secure the gold medal.

This is one of my favourite all-time Olympic images by one of my favourite photographers, Doug Pensinger. Doug and I worked on many assignments together and I have always looked up to him and his work. He had a knack for getting the moment of the event better than anyone around him. He was a solid action photographer but he also had a very artistic eye and could make sport look like art.

Grey line 2 pixels
The Red Arrows fly over Olympic Stadium Image copyright Elsa Garrison / Getty Images
Image caption The Red Arrows fly over the Olympic Stadium in London during the opening ceremony for the 2012 Games

Every time the opening ceremony is more elaborate and action-packed than the previous Olympics. Larger fireworks shows, fly-overs and choreographed dance routines all add to the ceremony's spectacle. It is always tough to find another vantage point from which to cover the opening ceremony.

What draws me to images like this one is that they are outside the stadium and so give you a sense of place. The dark clouds pictured here during the fly-over at the 2012 Games in London make the coloured smoke from the planes stand out even more.

Grey line 2 pixels
Bob Beamon of the USA breaks the long jump world record during the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City Image copyright Tony Duffy / Getty Images
Image caption Bob Beamon of the USA breaks the long jump world record during the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City

Bob Beamon's long jump from 1968 maintained the Olympic and world record until the latter was broken in 1991 by Mike Powell.

This picture signals a change in the way people began to cover sporting events. Records and historic moments became more of a priority to capture. Peak action shots with telephoto lenses came into fashion because of this picture and many images like it from that time.

Grey line 2 pixels
Christina Loukas of the United States competes in the women's 3m springboard diving semi-final at the London 2012 Olympic Games Image copyright Al Bello / Getty Images
Image caption Christina Loukas of the United States competes in the women's 3m springboard diving semi-final at the London 2012 Olympic Games

I like the heart shape of the water as the diver heads to the surface and this lends a beautiful graphic element to the picture.

This was taken with a remote camera placed in the pool set up several hours beforehand. Underwater camera shots are hard to get and at this year's Rio Olympics, Getty Images are using underwater rigs to capture more of this imagery which shows a fresh and unique perspective.

Grey line 2 pixels
Laura Robson and Andy Murray of Great Britain in the Mixed Doubles Tennis semi-final match at the London Olympics Image copyright Elsa Garrison / Getty Images
Image caption Laura Robson and Andy Murray of Great Britain compete against Christopher Kas and Sabine Lisicki of Germany in their mixed doubles tennis semi-final match at the London Olympics

When covering doubles tennis it is important to have both players in the frame - otherwise it would look like singles.

Patience is the key but once both players magically come together you have to be ready to capture it as it doesn't happen often. This was a nice moment where Laura Robson and Andy Murray both went for the ball and were mirror images of each other.

All photographs © Getty Images

Related Topics