Photographer Pelle Cass is pioneering a fun manner of shooting sports on camera. Instead of focusing on moments, he tries to catch everything that happens on one stadium and combine it. The end result is comparable to the frescos that decorate baroque palaces and church peaks–visual choreography involving hundreds of characters suspended in a single graceful moment.
It is an arduous process that requires patience and a keen eye, the two to post-process them and to shoot the photos. Speaking with Cass on email, he said that no less than a thousand individual photos are required by most of these images that were composite. He then must go through all those photos and choose and work nicely with the article that is final, putting them. It is a process which takes him 40 to 60 hours.
Because he started this series last autumn, Cass states, he assesses the sports calendars of the local colleges with large sports programs throughout his Brookline, Massachusetts, studio–if it is Harvard, Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern, or MIT. “I do not require permission or a press pass or anything,” he states. “Occasionally I must get a five dollar ticket or maybe buy a brownie at the fundraising table. But I simply walk in and get to work.” This is critical, like in a specialist sports stadium, he would need to use places compete with other photographers and to shoot. “It takes me some time to consider the angles and figure out where I want to set up,” he says, picking “large, remote vantage points when I could see them.” In addition, he states that he enjoys “photographing more obscure sports since large spectacles are coated […] I believe sports are paid a lot attention, occasionally at the cost, in school sports, of education.”
Before settling down to work, Cass does a few test shots at distinct places — important, since he desires one picture to be completed by a hour of activity. When he picks a game, he starts shooting instantly, careful not to touch the tripod under some circumstances. “It is dull and fascinating at the same time,” he confesses, because he can’t actually see the competition. Instead, he has to concentrate on observing in which the athletes tend to move, and in which they seldom go on a courtroom or within a venue (as well as pressing the camera whenever they do something fascinating).
The amounts that he catches are never moved by him. “I don’t alter a pixel” Cass says, “I just determine what stays and what goes. This way, I will say that I’m recording something real and true, even if the eye sees it like that.”
Back from the studio, it is time to choose the images that enter the final composition. “It takes a very long time to get to understand what’s in several thousand images, so that I dip in and start looking things. I often start with figures that are the most expressive or peculiar and build from there,” he explains. “It’s a little just like a tubular game of Tetris,” one in which he tries to fit people in a distance in order that they fit with each other. Occasionally he trashes all and everything begins. Other times, he ends with two versions of the same session.
Cass loves the idea of photos in which the stands are essentially empty, reversing the game photo in which just a few athletes are watched by a massive public. The crowd is from the field, with hundreds of gamers dancing with each other across space and time.