Whether it’s defeat, agony, shock, smiles, tears or determination the emotions captured on these athletes faces left the photographs to tell a visual story of their own.
On Sept. 6, photography professor Jim Flory put 25 images on display in the Kathrin Cawein Gallery. At noon he spoke at the opening reception to an audience of students, faculty and friends about his experience shooting the track and field olympic trials in Eugene in 2008, 2012 and 2016.
“You’re basically telling a story either with one picture or with a series of pictures so that’s what I tried to present here today,” Flory said. “It was really interesting to me to focus on winning and losing and the things that happen in between, so that was basically my theme this year at the 2016 trials.”
Flory was one of 100 other photographers to receive credentials back in 2008 when he shot his first set of olympic trials. Marita Kunzel’a, Pacific University’s former head librarian who now holds another role at the university, is the mother of Ian Dobson who qualified for the 2008 olympics for track and field. Both Dobson and Steve Richie, a freelance sports writer and track and field coach, helped Flory get his credentials.
“This guy talked me into it, Steve Richie, he encouraged me to try and get credentials for the trials so basically he was one guy that I was shooting for; I was shooting for him like crazy,” Flory said. “I feel really fortunate to be able to get credentials.”
During the trials, Flory captured the athletes, both men and women, in action using both slow and fast shutter speeds and shot five frames a second to capture moments he says he otherwise would have missed.
“Every year I learn something new from the professional photographers that are there shooting for Sports Illustrated and you name it,” Flory said. “The thing I felt like I did a better job of this year was using longer glass, which means longer lenses, and the other thing I tried to do was show the emotion of either losing or winning because these athletes try so hard and some of them are going to make the team and some of them aren’t.”
His photographs will hang in the gallery until Sept. 30 and then Florey will donate all the pictures either to Richie for his team room or to Adrian Shipley, a former student of his and now a cross country and track and field coach at Forest Grove high school, in order to help inspire the team.
“Mainly, I want to set an example for my students and not just think that all I do is stand up in front of the class and talk about photography, but I actually do it,” Flory said.
“I’ve inspired a whole bunch of kids to start shooting sports photography which is great, so that was really the real meaning for doing this, it was to get them inspired about doing it, but mainly my motivation is to practice what I teach.”