YOU CAN READ our behind-the-scenes story about how Bob Martin and his team of expert sports imagery professionals covered off a thrilling SailGP event in Singapore in issue 205 of Professional Photo. Now, if you’re a young photographer with a love of action who is longing for a chance to break into the business, how do you fancy the chance to go one step further, and to actually shoot alongside them on a future race event?
Well, this is exactly what’s on offer, in what has to be the most exciting opportunity Professional Photo has ever been involved in. As part of its community, education and outreach initiative, SailGP has developed its Inspire Programme, which is committed to playing a leading role in helping to diversify the sport of sailing for youth, without race, gender and socioeconomic status presenting a barrier to entry. The aim is to leave a legacy long after race day has finished, which will be achieved by offering students and young professionals a work experience opportunity that’s like no other.
Already several young photographers have benefitted from this enlightened approach, and now Professional Photo is getting involved to help unearth the top sporting photography talent of tomorrow, and the incredible package on offer from SailGP could be the crucial first step on the ladder for someone who is looking to break into this highly competitive area.
Becoming an Intern Providing opportunities to young people is one of the main aims of SailGP’s Inspire programme, whether that be as a competitor in the single-person foiling craft racing or receiving work experience opportunities around an event.
James Smith was a student on a photographic degree course at Plymouth University when his lecturer suggested he should send over his portfolio for consideration to be an intern for the SailGP race that was taking place in the city, and he was shocked to find that he’d made the final shortlist and was then selected.
“It was just such a great experience,” he says. “Bob and the team gave me so much back, and it wasn’t just about taking pictures but I had a chance to see the full operation. On the first day I was shown how to edit and caption pictures, and for the next three days I was out on the chase boat with Bob, shooting pictures alongside him. At the end of each day he critiqued my shots and gave me feedback, which was really useful, and I ended up with some shots on the SailGP Instagram page and a credited image in Sailing News.”
Impressed by James’ attitude Bob stayed in touch, and this subsequently led to an invitation to join the team as a photo editor covering Wimbledon tennis for three weeks the following summer and to work on the London Marathon, He’s now part of Bob’s regular team two to three days a week as a freelancer, and learning his trade as a professional sports photographer while earning an income at the same time.
James’ message to anyone struggling with self-doubt at the thought of entering is this: “If you would love to have the opportunity to work alongside Bob and to photograph SailGP, but maybe don’t feel confident that you’ll win, then I would say just enter anyway. You’ve actually got nothing to lose, and you never know what could happen. I doubted my chances, but I ended up being selected. A little bit of self belief can get you a long way.”
Another young photographer who worked with Bob as an intern, in her case for the 2018 Youth Olympics, is Chloe Knott, who was out in Singapore covering the SailGP single-crew Inspire racers. “I saw the opportunity advertised and went for it,” she says, “and it was just such a great experience. I’d never been to an event like that before and, because of the feedback and the positive advice I was given about my work, I just learned so much in such a short space of time.
“I’m now working with Bob and his team on most of the SailGP events around the world, and also on the other events that he covers, such as Wimbledon tennis and the London Marathon.”
What’s on Offer
❚ We’re looking for someone who’s 18+ and who has a genuine desire to break into the world of professional sports photography. You don’t need to be a working pro already or to have a ton of long lenses and cutting-edge cameras – kit will be sourced for the event and we’re not going to assume advanced sports photography skills – but you do need to be serious about the business, and not just along for the ride.
❚ The photographer we choose has to be able to fit into a team situation, and they will have the chance to work as an intern alongside the legendary Bob Martin and his team as they take to the water to chase the high-speed SailGP competitors. Bob is widely renowned for his generosity in terms of sharing his knowledge and skills, and it’s an unmissable opportunity to learn first-hand from the very best, and to come away with some amazing shots yourself as you find yourself heading right into the heart of the action!
❚ The SailGP event to be attended will be discussed down the line, but races are held on a monthly basis in locations such as Sydney, Auckland, San Francisco, Cadiz, St Tropez and Bermuda. Our selected photographer would attend the event that’s as close to their home address as possible, and reasonable travel and accommodation costs would be met by SailGP.
❚ Those looking to be considered will need to send through a portfolio of images to prove that they’ve mastered the basics of sports photography -we’re asking for a minimum of six images and no more than twelve – and Bob would then interview those who have made the shortlist to select the person who would be invited to attend.
❚ Professional Photo will subsequently run a feature reporting on the experiences of the selected photographer, and we’ll run a selection of the images they shoot.
How to enter
WE’RE LOOKING FOR a mini portfolio consisting of a minimum of six – and not more the twelve – of your best sporting and action shots, and these don’t necessarily need to include sailing images. We just need to get a feel for your style and sense of timing, and you’ll get a briefing on how to tackle sailing action if you get selected. We would also like you to put together some words on why you feel you deserve this opportunity, and how you could see this helping your future career. Entries need to be in by midnight on Friday April 14.
Enter here by heading to this Google Form and filling in your details. Those who make the shortlist will be contacted and will then need to be available for a subsequent interview with Bob Martin to talk more about why they feel they could be the perfect person to become our intern. Entries need to be in by the end of the day on Friday April 14.
Terms and Conditions: Entries must be received by 24.00 GMT on Friday April 14, 2023 and those on the shortlist will be notified within seven days. Those entering need to be aged 18+, and we’re looking for a student or young photographer with potential. Reasonable travel and accommodation costs for the individual will be provided by SailGP. The prize must be taken as offered with no alternative. Entries not in accordance with these rules will be disqualified: by entering the competition you’ll be deemed to be bound by these rules.
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