If you show me a photograph of an athlete playing any sport, I will stop and have a look. Depending on the motion, or the emotion, or whatever moment was frozen in time, I will take in the image and give it some time in my head, in my heart. I love sports and the athletes who play them. I connect to sports. They all seem to make some kind of bone-deep sense to me.
And when I see Mary Schilpp’s photographs I can stop and look all day long.
I should state that I was a professional athlete, and I’ve been a television sports commentator for far longer. On TV, sports becomes History in a Hurry. We show ten different angles, six different replays, extreme close-ups, blimp shots, split screens, slow motion, Flo-Motion, all with the added barrage of experts in the booth, field reporters on the ground, telestrator operators, graphics, statistics, studio hosts, weather bunnies, commercials—commotion. It’s loud and slick and unrelenting, and we just keep adding to the noise of it all….
And then I look at Mary’s photographs, and all the noise goes away. Through her eyes there is an absence of agitation, of confusion. Often the image she has captured is motionless. There is quiet, and detail- the small things that so often go missing in The Big Picture. More often than not it is the interstitial moment- the time before Time is called, the seconds before everything is on the line, or the seconds afterward, when it’s all over. Much of what Mary shoots looks tranquil, soothing, calm. She is patient and knowing, and the sport, the athlete is stripped down to its very essence.
Mary Schilpp has collected her magnificent images and brings them together in The Beauty of Sport. You will want to take your time turning the pages, because there is so much to see and feel. Whether you are a lover of sports or a lover of beauty, this book will please you. Enjoy.
Schilpp Says : Images from this gallery appear in two different books, available for purchase from my BLURB store.