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Rf0410 Boyle Blanchfield


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April Rangefinder profile of Steve Boyle

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Rf0410 Boyle Blanchfield

  1. 1. on the RISE RADIO steve boyle By Martha Blanchfield ALL PHOTOs COPYRIGHT © sTeve bOYLe
  2. 2. Steve Boyle has worked a variety of roles high school and even college audiences, scenario—both of them hammed it up in the photo industry—photo researcher, don’t have big photography budgets that with a microphone and a series of ques- lighting tech, assistant photo editor. He’s mass audience publications often have. For tions,” he adds. “As I do with every photo also been a ticket broker, a pizza delivery them, sports imagery needs to be as true shoot, I asked them to be ‘game ready’ specialist and a mini-golf supervisor. And it to life as possible, so what’s most valued for their athletic uniform shots, but also looks like one item that’s been on his to-do are the abilities to cleanly get action shots, asked that they bring refined street cloth- list for a while was just recently checked and, if portraiture is assigned, to find and ing for the interview part.” During the pair’s off: run a marathon. Steve’s photography capture the personality.” Q & A session, Boyle fired off frames with genre of choice is sports—action, edito- a Canon EOS 5D Mark II paired with por- rial, documentary projects and portraiture. Rising to ESPN table Dynalites. So if he’s not running that marathon, he’s Boyle has been working for ESPN RISE The set was clean and spare with black definitely rubbing elbows with those who since 2005. RISE is a regional publication Duvateen stretched behind them with a few do. Although still somewhat new to the that covers high school sports in 25 U.S. chairs grabbed from the school auditorium. professional photo circuit, Boyle is grow- cities. This trade magazine offers the latest Boyle captured 120 images, but it was the ing a tidy list of cover credits, plus ample school sports information including scores, last horizontal shot that the editor cropped inside-the-issue material. stats, rankings, polls and athlete profiles. to vertical and placed on the cover. “My Steve Boyle represents the fresh face on “One of the sessions I really enjoyed pho- assignment was to grab a two-page spread, the block, the rising star. Boyle came into tographing for the issue happened last but the expressions and play between the the game in 2004, pacing his career with fall with high school senior Kyrie Irving two were so great that the image made an initial sprint as an assistant for Sports Il- and junior Michael Gilchrist of St. Patrick the cover.” Boyle also secured an opening lustrated. He’s photographed the Kentucky High School/Academy in Elizabeth, New spread and inside placement that appeared Derby and the New York Marathon. Run- Jersey.” In high school basketball, Irving is alongside the guys’ Q & A in the New Jersey ner’s World magazine likes his style, as does ranked sixth in the nation for the class of edition of the December issue. Gatorade’s public relations person. And 2010, while Gilchrist is the number one a five-year history with client ESPN RISE recruit in the nation for the class of 2011. Cover Material Magazine keeps his work hitting 12 covers, “As it happens the duo are best friends who For RISE cover material, Boyle knows he plus even more inside spreads, every year. do everything together—hang out, play has to keep the look focused on the ath- How does this talent consistently pro- ball and they’ve even co-starred in their lete. He uses sharp and brilliant contrasts. duce great cover material? “Finding com- school’s annual play High School Musical, “Sports is a reality subject, so I can’t have mon ground with my subject definitely so interaction and play between the two things trumped-up. My chief objectives are heads things in the right direction,” he was great.” to capture the sport and the personality. By shares. Boyle, an athlete himself who en- To envision a cover look, Boyle starts by and large there’s not much in the way of joys mountain biking, rafting, softball, soc- kicking around concepts with his editor, complex props or sets—most images are cer and marathon running, can relate on and he generally takes time to dig around positioned within a natural environment both physical and emotive levels. Years and learn the personality of his athletes. or against a non-distracting white, black of play on the field gives him a kinetic For this duo, it was known that Irving or stark background. Any photo retouch edge, and his laid-back style makes it easy wants to study journalism at Duke. “The work is pretty basic, maybe a bit of color for clients to relate to him. “Most sports editor asked me to catch them in a photo correcting, some skin doctoring, making magazines, especially ones catering to the series that spoofs the athlete interview sure anything in the background is not
  3. 3. rial limitations. For example, the sessions those 12 images were acquired in bursts themselves need to be pretty streamlined and shot outdoors as snow fell. “While I and focused.” He’ll photograph after school was working on the court getting prepped, for about two to two-and-a-half-hours on Kendall was sitting inside a warm car a few campus with a three-light setup and gener- feet away. Once he hopped out I had him ally one assistant. “I enjoy photographing quickly move around the court, up to the athletes—especially high school and col- net and then over to the backdrop.” lege age because they’re so much easier Aside from a warm car nearby, Boyle’s to work with. That ease allows me to get learned to travel with a few other tools. He the job done quickly. Plus, I really like the prattles off necessities, including a Leather- work. These guys just don’t get as much man knife, power inverter (to charge cam- attention as the pros.” era batteries and laptop), a tall ladder, plus an apple box (used at times as stool and On the Fly riser for either subject or photographer). Boyle totes a notebook wherever he goes He keeps light grids in cookie tins and has to record ideas and make notes. He’s con- plenty of A-clamps and gaffer’s tape in a stantly developing ideas in his mind. “I gear bag. make a game plan before every shoot, but distracting. I may sharpen edges or bump keep my vision and attitude fluid in case Instant Replay up contrast. And of course cropping can I’ve got to change something midstream. Boyle the athlete knows an assignment increase impact.” Boyle says that to land a I have to keep in mind there’s minimal may require him to hike up a mountain, cover image with RISE he knows he has support staff, budget for props and time keep up with a runner, dip into a pool to produce a technically solid photo with for most shoots.” But he admits to being or even gain entrance into a pass-only strong emotional appeal. He can’t be re- able to wrangle a small budget now and venue. He admits to sneaking into spots touching a lot or adding gimmicks. “Each then to build a prop that improves the to obtain images, or finding creative ways client has a specific look or feel that works look and adds novelty. When prepping to to secure credentials. But for the most for their magazine and their audience. I photograph Pennsylvania state boys ten- part his stream of assignments has been think consistency has allowed me to de- nis champion Benji Kendall (pgs. 42–43), steady and on the up and up. “Just as in velop a deep portfolio of images and cover Boyle built a 4 x 4-foot backdrop using ply- other photography circles, a person has material with this particular publication.” wood and 300 tennis balls—affixing equally to keep networking and getting out there. He adds, “Since RISE is a smaller dis- spaced nails across the board then pushing Most of my assignments have come tribution magazine that only spotlights 300 balls into place. That prop was a suc- through referrals.” Such was the case regional high school athletes, I’m aware cess; the magazine ran 12 expressive pho- for a fantastic gig landed with Gatorade that I need to work within certain edito- tos of Kendall. Little did readers know that Replay—a sponsor company and project
  4. 4. he’s angling to do again if the program such as the Replay event, genuinely shifts What’s next for Boyle? Laughing, he re-ignites. importance onto capturing the person and says he’s not sure; his calendar’s open. But In 2008, Gatorade sent 1993 football their emotions in competition—and in an- that’s not unusual. In his industry most rivals Easton High and Phillipsburg High ticipation of competition. “I photograph assignments come within a few days of a to the field to settle a score that had ended athletes, not models. Their expressions start date. “You get used to it,” he says. But in a tie 15 years prior. The competition and body language instantly and truthfully no matter the publication, a catchy cover and lead up were part of a documentary convey what’s happening. I may only have image needs to serve as a hook to inspire showcasing one of the greatest high school a split second to catch that,” he asserts, “so readers and a purchase. “A good photogra- rivalries in the nation: blue-collar towns I place myself as a start-to-finish photogra- pher knows what’s needed and can consis- from either side of the Delaware River that pher looking to grab images at every inch tently deliver.” had been facing off for 102 years straight. of the game.” To achieve this, Boyle may View more of Boyle’s work at www.steve “It was 85 degrees on match day, but employ strobes to freeze mid-air moments the turf registered 120 degrees! Working and fast flash that syncs to speeds of 1/200 Martha Blanchfield is creator of the Renegade Photo that event was fantastic. It gave me na- of a second. He nabs leaps and bound and Shoots ( and a freelance tional attention and allowed me to tap my still poses. marketing and public relations consultant. documentary photo skills. Not only did I shoot from the sidelines on game day, but was invited to cover training and lead-up events,” smiles Boyle. “I likely wouldn’t have landed that work had I not stayed in touch with a public relations person from an earlier gig.” Just one year prior Boyle had photographed a top high school athlete who went on to become a Gatorade Athlete of the Year. As it happens, the PR person working on the Gatorade Athlete of the Year cam- paign later shifted to work on the Gato- rade Replay project. “She remembered me and called when they needed some- one to cover the Replay 2008 match up.” Covering a documentary assignment,