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Wolfgang Tillmans

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Neil Leifer’s 1965 photograph of Muhammad Ali hovering over a knocked-out Sonny Liston may be the most famous sports shot of all time, but you will not find it at “The Sports Show,” a photography and new-media exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Nor will you find a single picture of the most famous athlete of the past 15 years, Tiger Woods, or of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team celebrating its miracle win, or of American soccer player Brandi Chastain ripping off her shirt after clinching the 1999 World Cup. Can you really mount a worthwhile retrospective of sports photography without these iconic athletes and moments? Turns out you can. In fact, “The Sports Show” (on view through May 13) is better off for it.

When I checked out the exhibit on opening day, I expected a greatest-hits compendium of sports images. But curator David Little took a more surprising approach, choosing photographs that offer more social commentary than celebration. For example, the circa-1899 portrait of female high school students playing basketball in dresses sends the message that women, too, could participate in emerging sports. (The picture was taken by Frances Benjamin Johnston, whom LIFE magazine once called “the closest thing to an official court photographer the United States has ever had.”) More than a century later, that message continues to resonate: Title IX has delivered athletic opportunities to millions of girls, but female athletes still fight for the same opportunities and recognition that boys get.

The exhibit casts a skeptical eye on the emotional energy we expend on sports. In 1970 photographer Tod Papageorge toured the country capturing fans at big events like the Iron Bowl (the Alabama-vs.-Auburn college-football rivalry) and opening day at Yankee Stadium. Some people in the crowd are goofing off, but many others appear pensive. The photographs invite the viewer to wonder what the spectators are thinking and feeling. Is their favorite team losing? Or are real-life stresses still on their minds? Papageorge bitingly called this project—a portion of which is on display in Minneapolis—American Sports, 1970, or How We Spent the War in Vietnam.

Read More: “Big Shots: The impact of sports on society, seen through the camera’s eye.”

The Sports Show is on view at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts now through May 13.

MORE: Check out TIME.com’s new sports blog: Keeping Score.

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Name- Nico Krijno
Age- 29
Where are you from?- Somerset-East. South Africa - based in Cape town.
Your equipment- Contax G2, Mamiya 645, Fuji GW645W, Nikon F3/5. Rollei 35 S. Etc. Etcetera
Influences and photographers you like- mostly people, random everyday things. music, places, trees, plants, the moon. animals. who knows where it really comes from.
I like the work of Alec Soth. Wolfgang Tillmans, Thomas Struth, Tim Barber. Araki, Hiroshi Sigomoto. Richard Misrach, Takashi Homma. Thomas Demand. And most of the people on this site.
A little about you-  My first job was selling hot dogs on the side of the road. The last photo I took was of a rainbow....my work is not founded in technical perfection and meticulous composition. My philosophy is based on ceding control and responding intuitively to my surroundings. I'm less interested in rigid ideas than in a way of pursuing a way of looking at the world that is primarily intuitive, emotional and spontaneous. My work is a homage to reality rather than an attempt to explain or comment on a certain poignant beauty of the everyday fragility and tension of human life.  I try to form connections and correspondences between seemingly disparate and unrelated images within a non-linear narrative, which is ultimately a method of creating meaning and making sense of the messiness of life, without leveling it out or attempting to understand or relate to these scenes or objects.  I try to capture the raw essence of a moment whilst trying to show its place in the larger scheme of things.  *A photograph is a photograph, a 3 dimensional object with a two dimensional image sitting on one side of the object.

nicokrijno.com
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ALL PHOTOS BY NICO KRIJNO

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Name- V.D. (Vincent Delbrouck)
Age- 35
Where are you from?- I am from Brussels (Belgium), but I don’t feel rooted here. Maybe I lived somewhere else in a previous life...a tropical place. There, this is my home and my light. I have been living one year in Nepal from 2009-2010. Now, I am back in the old and grey Europe (living in the countryside), but I hope not for long.
Your equipment- I used to work with a Rollei Afm 35 point and shoot film camera and a Polaroid (and sketchbooks, permanent markers, painting, tape,...) and I changed for a Leica Minilux 35mm (and small notebooks). I love film.
Influences and photographers you like- Film directors : Krzysztof Kieślowski, Pedro Almodovar, Michelangelo Antonioni, Kim Ki-duk, Anh Hung Tran,... Writers (I love especially short stories) : Raymond Carver, Charles Bukowski, Pedro Juan Gutiérrez, Reinaldo Arenas, Ernest Hemingway, John Fante, Fernando Pessoa, Wendy Guerra, Marguerite Duras, Aimé Césaire, Duong Thu Huong, Junot Diaz... Photographers : (I started with Raymond Depardon, and other Magnum photographers), William Eggleston, Malick Sidibe, Robert Frank (from Mabou period), Wolfgang Tillmans, Juergen Teller, Mark Borthwick, Bertien Van Manen, JH Engström, Arno Nollen, Ed Templeton, G.P. Fieret, Takashi Homma, Araki, Masao Yamamoto, Paul Graham, Boris Mikhailov,...(and other friends photographers) Painters : Peter Doig, Luc Tuymans, Andō Hiroshige,... Jonathan Meese. Wise men : Ajahn Chah, Krishnamurti, Chögyam Trungpa,... Places : Centro Habana, Kathmandu, Lower Mustang, Gokarna, Veracruz,...
Some of the photographers I love today : Juan Carlos Alom, Viviane Sassen, Seba Kurtis, Chris Shaw, André Cépéda,...
A little about you- I am currently working on a new book about experience in Nepal and I am also studying and practicing shiatsu.
vincentdelbrouck.be 

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ALL PHOTOS BY VINCENT DELBROUCK

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