It's that time of year again, folks... football time. And at the start of the season the San Angelo Standard-Times publishes it's high school football special section, Blitz! It's a glossy-covered, tabloid section that is published in the Sunday edition the weekend before the first kickoff. The tab, put together by the sports, photo and advertising teams, details all of the high school football teams in our coverage areas. We cover one 5A school, one 4A school and a gathering of 2A, 1A and Six-man schools.
One of the sections in the tab highlights 26 individual players that the Sports department believes will have a standout season or are players to watch in their respective classifications called the Pre-Season All West Team. One of the challenges of the this section is deciding on how to photograph these players. In the past we have used Polaroid photos, long-exposure photos in the studio with strobes and Christmas lights and the more traditional football poses on the field.
During one of our many meetings about the tab held this summer someone asked the question "How are kids today using photographs to document their own lives?" The answer was pretty obvious: on smartphones via social media. Why not use the same technology to take portraits of these 26 kids for the tab? Once the list of players was finalized, sports reporter Carlos Silva and I made a schedule to drive out to all the towns to photograph and interview each player.
I decided to use a photography app on my iPhone called Oggl, created by the same people who designed Hipstamatic, to photograph the players. Oggl is a lot like Instagram, a social media community that revolves around photos and video, but the main difference is that with Oggl you don't have to make the photos public until you're ready for them to be seen. This allowed me to take all the photos, run them through various filters in the program (lenses and film types) and download them to my computer all before revealing the finished product to the public.
So, after five days, 14 towns, 1,129 miles, seven fuel stops, six energy drinks, four meals and two very tired drivers... this is what we came up with: