Sports Shutter Lady

Boxing Photojournalist

 The Sweet Science & Me " The Musings of a Boxing Photojournalist "

You will find a selection of my published journalism also here                                                                     

So, I have been photographing professional boxing ringside for the past several years. It can be somewhat of a challenging feat with very fast action and sometimes varying low lighting but it is perhaps, what I consider to be the most skilled and rewarding photography. I am, for want of a better adjective, engrossed in the fights and succumb to a fair amount of ducking and diving myself. 

I enjoy every moment of it, yes, even if I am bent over for several hours and my hands are left shaped like I am still gripping an invisible heavy camera (for at least a little while after) It could be worse, I could be feeling leather on my nose, right ?!

As you may have gathered, boxing is my NOT so secret vice so combining photography with it is a pleasure with a lot of hard work. Thousands of images to sift through, edit, send, post, deadlines. Us freelancers make our own way by automobile, train and for me quite often plane to be there, it is an expensive Love.

On occasion, I won't feel my head hit the pillow until the sun comes up. One must do this for love because it sure ain’t for money…. So when you see us, standing there waving for that photo op at the end of your battle, flash us your pearly whites :)

Here is the other side of the coin. I, as a compassionate individual by nature am somewhat conflicted within. On one hand you wince and worry but on the other, you know that the direct shot on the chin with sweat, blood and tears will make for an interesting image and one that 99.9% of people only want to see. So as a photographer, despite all the concerns we are hoping for "that shot" preferably by the fighter you are meant to be impartial to.. but never really are. Shhhhh.

That being said, I do tend to show mainly direct and exciting contact shots but I also very much like to capture (now for the old cliché) the story, the experience of the fighters with his team and supporters. 

After all, these are historical moments of each and every boxer, trainer, coach, nutritionist, cornerman, the entire support team. Not to mention the managers, the promoters all who have gone to great lengths to cultivate and produce these events and shows. Last but by no means least the, loyal boxing supporting public.

My camera and specifically my lenses are obviously very fast, a flash is never used of course in professional indoor sports. It has been banned for a few months and for good reason. Some will agree some do not, either way a slightly grainy image is better than flash blindness in a dangerous sport. Obviously the televised shows have superior lighting thus producing superior images but I can assure you that I don't miss a beat.

I have had the pleasure of photographing some excellent talent over the years. I have watched inexperienced fighters advance in agility & ability through the rankings. I suppose, dare I say it... have developed a little bit of an eye for it with such a good vantage point, there, I said it!

Now, here for another the old cliche´ ' I am both professional , personable and very big supporter of the sport '... Thing is, I am. Boxing has invaded my life like an old friend who has moved in, taken over the sofa and talks too much but you really don't want them to leave because they keep surprising you. It's sucked me into its real life soap opera of discussions, debates, opinions, personalities and politics. Don't even get me started on the althletic abilities which are awe worthy. Yes, let's not forget the Fights !! As if !!

I must finish off here by saying that I really do have the utmost respect for the boxers, victorious or otherwise. To go through all the mental and physical trials and tribulations of training, to get into the rawness of that ringmano e mano... I take my imaginary hat off to you... with my imaginary camera gripping hands :)

Laura-Juliet Ayers