PetaPixel

US Olympic Team Portraits Come Under Scrutiny

Photographer Joe Klamar has been receiving some criticism over his portraits of the US Olympic Team that many believe could have been done better. Most of the criticism, as you would imagine, comes from photographers who believe they could have done a better job representing the athletes. And with access to these athletes for photographic purposes being so restricted, it’s understandable that photogs would get upset over sub-par portraits.

You can see the full 35-photo gallery over on the CBS News website, but what’s your take on the photos? Do they deserve the negative attention they’re getting, or do they represent the US Olympic Team just fine? Let us know in the comments down below.

(via Solstice)


Image credits: Photographs by Joe Klamar


 
  • Neil Orr

    I agree that they could have been done much better. The photos are amateurish at best.

  • Sir_Elton_Juan

    Terrible…

  • Franco

    what’s up with the cracked floor? well. horrible.

  • Michael Thompson

    The ones here, are shocking.

  • Renee

    The lighting is bad, the poses are awkward, the backgrounds are a mess and the angles are painful. I’m NOT a photographer
    I’m not sure I could do better, but I know a
    College student down the street who I think could.

  • Heidi

    Look incredibly amateurish. :(

  • http://www.facebook.com/natelucchese Nate Lucchese

    they sure arent anything special.

  • http://www.canvas-of-light.com/ Daniel Nahabedian

    Geez.. Uncle Bob got tired of weddings and is shooting portraits now. This is a poor joke.

  • http://twitter.com/Mike_Philippens Mike Philippens™

    Hmm…never did any studio photography, but I can see some flaws within seconds. Apart from the photos being kind of boring, the backgrounds are not very good, some photos have bad lighting. If you call yourself a photographer and take on jobs like this, you should do a better job. Period. I’m not doing weddings because a)I hate them and b)I’m not sure I’m the right man for that job. I don’t want to disappoint a client.
    But if you want to make the official photos for the US Olympic team, I expect photos that stand out. This is amateur work at best. I wouldn’t even consider these photos for the top spots in an amateur contest…

    I wonder: are these the final, processed pictures or did they post the wrong pictures straight from the shoot?

  • Bruce

    I wanted to be nice and say that photography is subjective, and it is. But, there are maybe 5 or so in that gallery that I think are good enough to show to anyone. Again, I don’t want to be hard on the photographer, he may have been a crappy schedule and and crappy space to work in, an that was the best he could do under unfavorable conditions. I don’t like the ripped up seamless nor the over use of gels. I also don’t like that some shots were overexposed and some were under. If the customer is happy, then I guess that is what matters most.

  • http://www.cksmetalart.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    These are terrible. We should be embarrassed to represent our athletes this way. Unfortunately, the criticism is deserved.

  • http://twitter.com/javgarciarosell Javier García-Rosell

    Difficult to understand how this could happen…

  • Mansgame

    An absolute disgrace. Torn up seamless paper??? Are you freaking kidding me? Weird shadows? Weird angles? Has this person ever shot in a studio before?

  • Terry

    As regards the quality, I think I would say that they are at best a minimum effort.

  • Kevin Montano

    The thing to realize here is that Joe Klamar is not a portrait photographer. He is a well known and experienced sports and action photographer. These images were taken during the Olympic Media Summit during which photographers from various agencies had access to the athletes to photograph them. You can see portraits by Reuters and AP Photogaphers as well as other portraits by Joe here http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/picturegalleries/9270482/London-2012-Olympics-portraits-of-Team-USA-athletes.html. These media days are very hectic and photogs have very limited time to make a portait with an athlete. Should Joe have done a better job? Absolutely, but since none of us where there we don’t know what happened that caused his seamless backdrop to be ripped or what other challenges he may have faced.

  • John

    They’re shit.

  • Happy_Tinfoil_Cat

    Every time I see something like this, be it a catalog, an Olympic portrait, whatever, I start to feel that maybe I’m not so bad.

  • garricks

    I looked at all of the photos. As a graphic designer, I feel only a couple of them are usable in a layout or magazine spread. They’re horribly framed, and the lighting is obnoxious.

  • A Man from the Bucket

    Cant say I could do better. But I definitely wouldn’t do worse.

  • az_121490

    Is this “Joe Klamar” the same person to the one who is in this website, as the 2011 photographer of the year?! http://www.czechphotogallery.cz/en/klamar2011.html

  • Chip

    Hey, show respect, obviously the photographer was blind.

  • joe

    funny is that meaning of his surname “klamar” is “liar” :D

  • joe

    funny is that meaning of his surname “klamar” is “liar” :D

  • derekdj

    These photos are a disgrace and are unfit for publication. Sorry even an amateur with a cheap ring light can shoot better lit portraits. What happened, did the photographer use left over seamless paper?

  • derekdj

    These photos are a disgrace and are unfit for publication. Sorry even an amateur with a cheap ring light can shoot better lit portraits. What happened, did the photographer use left over seamless paper?

  • http://www.facebook.com/robson.chaves.fotografias Robson Chaves Fotografias

    Leave it for Joe Mcnally. Gosh these are horrible…

  • http://www.facebook.com/robson.chaves.fotografias Robson Chaves Fotografias

    Leave it for Joe Mcnally. Gosh these are horrible…

  • Halo

    The term I keep seeing that I think applies best is ‘amateurish’. It looks there was absolutely no effort at all put into post processing which could have fixed a lot of the original problems. Too bad, talk about an opportunity wasted.

  • Halo

    The term I keep seeing that I think applies best is ‘amateurish’. It looks there was absolutely no effort at all put into post processing which could have fixed a lot of the original problems. Too bad, talk about an opportunity wasted.

  • Jonathan Photography

    They are not the official photos, these are http://totallycoolpix.com/2012/05/team-usa-olympic-profiles/

  • Jonathan Photography

    They are not the official photos, these are http://totallycoolpix.com/2012/05/team-usa-olympic-profiles/

  • http://www.facebook.com/chuck.france Chuck France

    It’s always a hard thing to be critic and to get criticism….but these photos are suppose to represent OUR United States Olympians. Although I’m a working pro, I’m not going to jump on bandwagon and say “I coulda done a better job than this”. I’ll just say that I think many other working pros, “high profile types” (insert list here), would have done better by our athletes and the representation of our country. Kinda of embarrassing and shocking to see these.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chuck.france Chuck France

    It’s always a hard thing to be critic and to get criticism….but these photos are suppose to represent OUR United States Olympians. Although I’m a working pro, I’m not going to jump on bandwagon and say “I coulda done a better job than this”. I’ll just say that I think many other working pros, “high profile types” (insert list here), would have done better by our athletes and the representation of our country. Kinda of embarrassing and shocking to see these.

  • http://profiles.google.com/n1ghtcr4wl N1ght Crawler

    Yes, shit happens on set. But a good photographer should know better than publish bad pictures. (These are bad)

  • http://profiles.google.com/n1ghtcr4wl N1ght Crawler

    Yes, shit happens on set. But a good photographer should know better than publish bad pictures. (These are bad)

  • Kevin Montano

    My guess would be that as a wire photographer shooting for Getty he had no choice but to put a portrait of each athlete up on the wire. CBS made the poor decision of choosing to publish these images when they had many better images from the AP or Reuters…

  • derekdj

    I guess many of us in the community have pounced on Joe’s work. However being a professional shooting live events and who are granted limited to access to people like Olympic athletes, he should be able to think on his feet and know what bad lighting and ripped seamless will look like. If you look at other photographer’s work from that day, many of them choose not to use seamless, shot against the flag or flat wall, bounced and reflected lights.

    How many photographers kill to get this type of access, they show up with their A-game. More importantly which photo editor at Getty thought these images were fit for publication?

  • Kevin Montano

    That’s what I’m wondering. Also why in god’s name would CBS choose to pull these images from the wire when better ones existed. I’m sure Joe learned from this experience…

  • Mark

    Yes, they deserve the negative attention they are getting.

  • http://jraff.tumblr.com jraff

    As a point of reference, check out Canada’s athletes, as shot by Jean-François bérubé… http://www.jfberube.com/NOUVELLES-NEWS

  • jdm8

    Those are much better, but I think several of those also have plenty of room for improvement.

  • some-guy

    Several of the official photos still have the tape on the backdrop to help cue people to where to stand, a little bit more post-edit were was needed there also (or no tape and more direction)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-Austin-Hoherd/576367461 Daniel Austin Hoherd

    Uh, yeah, those photos are really amateur.

  • http://twitter.com/cycyrdotcom Cy Cyr

    We felt like they were horrible too, and we blogged about it. Klamar’s website proves he’s a good photographer, so we’re not sure what happened with these lit portraits. I wrote to Klamar, asking him to comment for our website. He hasn’t responded. He appears to be a European AFP / Getty photographer. Cy @ http://www.sportsphotographer.net/sports_photographer/olympic-photos/

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=525900591 Robert Ferreira

    Wow, my first impression from the headline.. well, I felt like blowing up and ready to cuss a few idiots down.. however, after checking these out, I have to agree. There are only a couple of images that I would use in any spread. Was the photographer trying to go for something easy.. a simple look, as it were? Or is the photographer not experienced enough to notice small things in the images that aren’t desirable? One thing that stands out, quite obviously, is the athlete in front of the flag, on the floor… the paper that he’s on top of is torn apart, likely from others that were previously standing on it for their shoots. I have to be honest, I agree that many other photogs would have done much better, but I’d like to hear this photogs reasons, or excuses if that’s the case, as to why the images are framed the way they are.

  • http://twitter.com/mcmillerphoto MC Miller

    Those are by a different photographer.

  • Tapo

    + ∞

  • Me

    I know nothing about these shots or
    the photographer but just from looking at them my fairly easy to back
    up opinion as a photographer is that they look like they were taken
    by a very inexperienced photographer who knows nothing about
    professional lighting techniques or portraiture. If the desire was to
    achieve a highly amateur look for effect then they are brilliant but
    if the idea was to take the standard sort of professional studio
    portraiture one would expect them to be, then they are demonstrably
    appalling. That last is not an opinion, it’s a fact.

  • 9inchnail

    The official photos Jonathan Photography linked in the comments are much better. These here should be ignored. Don’t know who in their right minds would have published them…

  • http://www.facebook.com/terry.deglau Terry J Deglau

    i am greatly disappointed with the poor lighting, unusual posing, bad cropping, and expression shows no communication between the subject and the photographer. Expression is paramount to selling an image. Past years images have bee exceptional, but these are poor, lack professionalism, ad looks like amateur snap shoots.