Some of the earliest photographic innovations were inspired by artists who hoped to capture the dynamic power of the body in motion.And yet for decades after the announcement of photography’s invention in 1839, cameras were incapable of stopping the action of live sports. The earliest sports photographs were thus limited to portraits of athletes and illustrations of human locomotion in carefully designed settings.
This photograph of a young man pretending to play “real” tennis, also known as court tennis (the forerunner of the modern game of tennis), is the earliest known sports photograph. Because exposure times were too long to stop movement, the subject poses with his racket as if engaged in a volley and focuses on an imaginary ball. A metal headrest, retouched out in the negative, helped him remain still during the one-or two-minute exposure.
David Octavius Hill (Scottish, 1802–1870) and Robert Adamson (Scottish, 1821–1848) Mr. Laing or Laine, 1843. Salted paper print from calotype negative Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
I woke up early this morning and headed down the lake to take some pictures at Word of Life Island’s Wake Camp. I used to love watching wakeboarding competitions during the summer X Games, so getting to see and take pictures of some sick riding in person is pretty darn cool. The photos above are of Anthony Racinelli and Paulie Koch.