Loughborough’s incredible sporting talent does not go unnoticed and is visible for all to see and revel in, however a vital factor within this industry goes towards sport photography. They play a role in capturing an athlete’s journey as a document of their discipline whilst also providing encapsulating images that present the true essence of the sport and the athlete’s raw emotions.  Such photographers go out of their way, to push their limits and create masterpieces of what they see before them in real time, resulting in iconic images being produced that speak a thousand words.

I caught up with Sam of @sakurasportsmedia and Nathan Green of @nxthan.green’ who told me how they got into the photography world and the narratives behind their personal favourite shots they’ve taken.

Sam of Sakura Sport Media

Sam graduated from Loughborough University with a degree in Human Biology in 2016 and like many other students was heavily involved in sport during and after his studies. He stayed within the Loughborough circle to continue training and competing in athletics and with the continual support from his coach and the outstanding facilities available at the university, he achieved his dream of representing Great Britain in the 200m in 2017!

In his own experience of being an athlete, the lack of photos available after his races were frustrating and spurred him to take matters into his own hands and make a change about it. He initially started off photographing himself and his training partners, and after some consistent practise became confident enough with the camera to start his very own sports photography business with the special name of Sakura Sports Media. ‘Sakura’ is Japanese for ‘cherry blossom’ and not only does it “sound cool” (his own words) but also holds an extremely special place in his heart.  Every day when he made the  journey to training, he drove past a big cherry tree near the Tesco roundabout, which would be covered in pink blossom in the Spring season, signalling the start of the outdoor season of racing and fuelling his excitement for it.

Since starting photography in 2021, Sam has covered major sporting events and he tells us the story behind two of his favourites.

Zharnel Hughes ‘storms’ to victory at the UK Athletics 100m Final – 08/07/2023

“As the men lined up to race, a dark cloud descended over Manchester and the heavens opened up worse than I can remember. I ran for cover to protect my camera and assumed that the race would be postponed until the conditions improved. I was wrong, very wrong!”

To his surprise the starter called the athletes to their blocks and Sam had a difficult decision to make: “Do I stay in the dry and shoot from the side-lines or do I risk thousands of pounds worth of camera equipment to take one of the best shots of my life?”

It’s safe to say he made the right call, with his camera surviving and an unreal result of a picture!

KSI makes his way to the ring to face Tommy Fury – 14/10/2023

This photo represents a huge personal achievement for Sam as after 3 years in sports photography, he was asked to work behind the scenes of one of the biggest boxing events in the UK, signifying a massive moment for him.

‘the energy inside the arena was electric and I loved capturing the emotions before the fighters went out and put a show in front of 20,000 people.’

For more of his work and booking enquires, check out @sakurasportsmedia!

Likewise, Nathan also got into photography through his own passion for playing basketball. In August 2022, he participated in a week long basketball camp hosted by Leicester Riders at Loughborough and in one of the afternoon sessions, his team got knocked out of the camp tournament. Instead of sitting around and spectating the rest of the games, Nathan found a way around his boredom and asked the photographer on camp if she had any spare cameras he could have a go with. Luckily she did and he spent the rest of the day learning the basics of photography and having loads of fun.

What started as a pass time, ended in the camp staff being really impressed with what he able to capture in a short span of time and he was invited to photograph the Riders women’s season opener a few weeks later.  This then lead him to working with the team for the rest of the season, where he was lucky enough to go with them to cover the three finals they made that season, including the playoff finals at the O2 in London!

After Loughborough Basketball being crowned BUCS Champions in 2023, this experienced opened up great connections for Nathan, which he was able to use to find work in the summer. He joined the Great Britain Basketball team with design agency ‘5or6 Creative’ which provided him new thrilling experiences and also lead him to where he is now. He currently studies Graphic Design at Loughborough whilst also working part time at the Riders, covering all things social media for the men’s and women’s professional teams.

Here’s two of his favourite shots and the story behind them!

Marcus Robinson celebrates an And 1 play in Great Britain U18’s European semi-final against North Macedonia.

“The whole experience of working with a national team is something I’ll be grateful for. I was lucky enough to spend a two week trip in Portugal with some of the best talent in the country along with a staff group that made up some of the legends of the British game.”

“The picture represents the passion the team brought every day to the tournament, which for me as a photographer was awesome as it makes my job a whole lot easier when the guys are giving there all and leaving it all out on the floor.”

Teddy Allen of Leicester Riders during Pre Game against Cheshire Phoenix.

This is Nathan’s favourite shot from his time working with the Riders. “Teddy joined the team midway through this current season and has been instrumental in taking the team back towards the top of the league table. This shot captured him at the perfect moment during the blackout that occurs before the game, when players are introduced.”

The spotlight perfectly lights up his silhouette to create a surreal, atmospheric glowing effect. “These photos that capture the minimal amount of light in dark scenes are always something I look out for, as the results are more often than not stunning…this one has to be my favourite yet.”

Check out more of his innovative work @nxthan.green!

Edited by Grace Hughes


Comments are closed.