After the the past few posts being mostly personal and deep, today I thought I would look over the past hockey season I spent photographing Petersfield hockey club, what I learnt from that time and other bits! Plus I’ve added some pictures because who doesn’t like pictures.
So this twisted photography hockey romance started when their delightful captain Dan, sent me a message asking me to photograph their game as the usual photographer wasn’t available. I had been to a couple of the games before as a spectator and supporter, due to my unfortunate bond with one of their team mates Henry, however photographing them was a whole new kettle of fish I wasn’t sure if I was good enough to open. After some charming on Dan’s behalf, I begrudgingly agreed. Sports photography was a whole new world for me and one I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do any justice.
Turning up to that first match, camera in hand, having no idea what I was doing, was beyond daunting. I didn’t want to let the team down with crappy photos, because as previously mentioned, my soul sister Henry played for them and it was important to him so it was important to me. An hour and a half, nearly 5,000 images and a body temp below freezing – I got back in my car to head home and start the editing process.
Uploading my photos to work through them and start my editing, my insecurities began to come through. I am very neurotic about my work and doing something I’m not practised in when it comes to photography, scares the crap out of me. 6 hours after starting my editing, it was 1AM and I’d finally finished. Looking through the images, I was pretty happy with how they turned out.
After posting the images to the clubs page and receiving some great feedback from the team, I ended up going back the next week and photographing them again. This soon became a weekly thing and I happily gave up my Saturday’s to photograph, edit and post the pictures of this team.
The more I spent photographing the team, the more I got to know each of them, how they worked as a team, the more I enjoyed being there. Photographing them as the season went on, my photos got increasingly better and the team were grateful for me turning up so they could have photos of their games.
I started turning up not just photo the games, but prior to the match, the team talks and the warm ups, catching the moments before the game that no-one else would see. These moments are my favourite, when no-one thinks I am looking, no-one noticing me photographing, those moments prior to a game where the electricity is high, the potential promise of victory on the horizon.
So as the season went on, the likely hood of entering the top two of the league was high, meaning the team would be promoted to league one. The tension at the games became more obvious as everyone focused on the end goal, getting promoted to league one.
As the season started coming to a close, it was clear Petersfield were looking to place third. Each game you could start feeling the disappointment radiating with every match. After all their hard work and solid playing, they would sit just below the promotion zone.
However, with a twisted turn of fate, one of the two team primed for promotion, Chichester hockey club had 12 points deducted for being dodgy and fielding ineligible players. Naughty. Once again, Petersfield were in the running to be promoted and the fire for the team was ignited.
Then came the final. Poole vs Petersfield at home. I was beyond excited to capture this game for the team, the game that if won; secured their promotion to league one.
Photographing the game, capturing goal after goal smashing and flying past the Poole goal keeper it was clear Petersfield wanted it more, Petersfield wanted to battle for that win, needed to fight to be promoted. Stunning saves, great deflections, perfect passes and smashing goals in one game and I felt incredibly privileged this team allowed me to capture this all for them, the worried non sports photographer at the beginning of the season to the photographer who started being able to get those winning shots.
After a beyond impressive 9-0 win, the realisation the promotion was on the cards, capturing the spirit of the team was intense. The emotion and jubilant response of the team was one of my top ten moments in my photography career.
So Henry Hind, Dan Grinstead, Tim Clay, James Atkinson, Will Atkinson, Charlie Hall, Lee Harris, Luke Hawkins, Niall Gray, Bruce Terry, Stanely Marlow, Alex Smith, Tom Harding, Max Rye, George Hughes-Stanton, Paul Vickers, Josh Alder, Josh Edney, Paddy Edwards and Tom Verney; this ones for you. Congratulations on your promotion to league one, it’s not only been a pleasure but a privilege to photograph you and your journey to this moment. I look forward to documenting you (hopefully) winning this season to come. Also thank you for giving me a chance to photograph you, that’s pretty cool.
And what have I learnt from photographing these boys? Doing something your not good at doesn’t mean you can’t develop and become good at it and enjoy it. As they like to say “feel the fear, then do it anyway”