are quite spread out. I’ll be on swimming and aquatics,
then I’ll cover track and field.
PDN: How do you feel about that change?
AP: To be brutally honest, I do like the variety. But I’m
getting a little older. If I were running around trying to
do everything, I might crash and burn. You’ve got to realize the limitations. The Olympics is the toughest test
you can have as a sports photographer.
AP: You’re working 16-, 18-hour days, competing
against the best photographers in the world. You’ve
got to get your pictures out quickly. You’re wired up
and fired up.
PDN: How did you start shooting sports?
AP: I was at a boy’s school, and I just started shooting
sports. There were quite a few egos running around,
so it was pretty easy to sell pictures of the boys
playing sports. Then I saw an exhibition of sports
photography by the two Sydney Morning Herald photographers, Craig Golding and Tim Clayton. I got their
book [Images of Sport, HarperCollins, 1993], and a
couple other books, and taught myself to print from
looking at pictures.
PDN: So you’re mostly self-taught?
AP: Yeah, but then I went to the Herald. Craig and Tim
really took me under their wing. Then when I went to
Allsport, Al Bello, Mike Powell and others helped me
out. [Editor’s note: Getty acquired Allsport in 1998.]
PDN: What are the most important things you learned
AP: Eye for detail, and really working on something
until you get it. Also I started doing Australian Open
tennis with Clive [Brunskill, another Getty Images staff
photographer]. Looking at his edits, everything was
great. That was the benchmark I had to get to.
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PDN: What does it take to get there?
AP: You’ve got to love what you do, but I think it comes
down to practice and patience. You’ve got to put the
hours in. People say, “You’re so lucky to have this happen in front of you.” But it’s a percentage game: [Luck]
happens to people who are there the longest. It comes
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PDN: Can you describe what you look for when you
shoot Olympic Games events?
AP: When I go to a venue, I have a quick look at the
lighting, then look about to check out the background.
I’ll seat myself [opposite the best background], and
hope something happens in that little area, rather
than try to cover the whole thing and just get something mediocre.
Sometimes you have to shoot the finish line, but if
you have flexibility [in positioning yourself], you want
pictures that push people. You want them to say, “Wow,
how did he do that?” or “What’s happening here?”
Whether it’s with the light, the composition or some sort