Andrea Nay is back, with more updates and photos from Cincinnati. Enjoy!
After seeing me snap shots of Roger Federer yesterday, a little boy tugged on my sleeve saying, “I want your job! You get to sit up close and take pictures of Mr. Roger!”
Well, yes. Sitting up close and watching the world’s most distinguished athletes play live is an excellent perk. Without a doubt, extraordinary moments come with the territory of a career in photojournalism. I’ve soared through the sky with the Blue Angels aboard Fat Albert. My lens has captured living legends like Willie Nelson. Marat Safin tried to teach me how to use a camera once.
And yet, I often wonder what these household names feel about having people like me on the sidelines. Am I an annoyance? Or, do they respect the ‘togs lining the courts? Thanks to a tennis writer who queried many of the ATP and WTA stars on Wednesday in Cincinnati, I got my answer.
“Honestly, I appreciate the job they do,” Federer said, offering a vote of respect. “They also sit in the heat for a long time and have to wait for the one perfect shot. So it’s like on safari.” He added that some photographers support his charity by donating pictures for his annual calendar, and he likes staying in good contact with them.
Is there anything the Maestro doesn’t like about having his picture taken? He smiled, answering, “I think some photographers like me to maybe do different faces sometimes, but I’m very relaxed when I play.”
Andy Murray admitted that playing in 100 degree heat is not the best time to be photographed.
To illustrate his point, Murray shared a story about being approached at Panera Bread this week: “I had a lady come up to me, and she said, ‘You look much better in person than you do on camera.'”
We all laughed with him, but Andy’s exactly right. The contortions tennis players go through mid-shot are not always photogenic. You should see the frames I don’t post. I always aim to portray players in a flattering light, and that becomes more difficult with each passing set of a long, hot match.
Trained in golf, where errant camera clicks get photographers kicked off the course, I’m always surprised to hear so many shots firing mid-serve and during other extreme moments of concentration. Venus Williams says this isn’t an issue. “No,” she said. “I don’t hear anything when I’m playing. Zip, zero.”
Williams is no stranger to the camera. Since turning pro eighteen years ago, her off-court activities have kept her in the limelight just as much as her tennis. She holds a degree in fashion design, models, owns an interior design company, and is, along with little sister Serena, a part owner of the Miami Dolphins.
How does she feel about being photographed so frequently? “I like looking at the pictures,” she answered. “More than anything, it’s fun to see the pictures over the years. It’s like seeing your life. It’s a beautiful thing.”
Andrea Nay is a freelance photojournalist based in Western Ohio. When she isn’t chasing aces on the court in Cincy, she’s capturing college football, concerts, and travel. Find more of her work at AndreaNay.com.