FROM THE SIDELINES
Keen to enter the world of sports photography? Getty Images photographer Phil Walter shares words of wisdom for those looking to start on their sports-photography career path
Emerging from the darkroom at Westlake Boys High, where he spent the majority of his highschool days, Getty Images photographer Phil Walter immediately threw himself into the world of job hunting — in particular, within the photography realm — but he didn’t last too long, as, within a week, he’d been offered two jobs. One was with Photo Warehouse in the sales department, and the other was with Bruce Jarvis’s film-processing lab, Prism.
“I took the job with Prism, as that was more about the photos rather than selling camera gear. The building Prism was in had Fotopress on the same floor. It was one of New Zealand’s first photo agency, and their point of difference was that they shot live sports events — I was offered a job there, and it went from there,” Walter said. Although he predominantly shoots sports, Walter does not consider himself purely a sports photographer. Working full-time as a Getty Images photographer sees him shooting sports 80 per cent of the time, with 20 per cent of his time spent on news. The heavy emphasis on sports photography comes down to the way Kiwis hold sports near and dear to their hearts, he said: “I guess the way New Zealand is, back in the mid to late ’90s [when Walter started], New Zealand’s culture was heavily made up of sports.”
With so much of his career being heavily focused in the world of sports photography, Walter has a wealth of knowledge to share with aspiring sports photographers. And his first piece of advice is to stand out from the crowd.