Images Field Notes: ESPN

Images: ESPN

Image use within ESPN The Magazine can be described as brilliant visual storytelling. Not only are the images crisp and breathtaking. They are meaningful, detailed, and keep the reader engaged with the material. Most notably, the imagery used in this publication is inspiring and creates a very unique sports language which the audience takes into heart. No matter how big of a sports fan you may be, these visuals are riveting, emotional and invite further conversation. The combination of photographs and illustrations bring awareness to necessary change (e.g. general roles as seen in the “Equal Fights Movement”), the captivating growth of the underdog, as well as what kind of people these superhuman athletes really are outside the spotlight.

We learned in class how photography communicates and informs. Because there is a high frequency of photos, not every visual includes a decisive moment. Still, many of the action shots we see throughout do indeed convey a larger story. And this can usually be noticed immediately by people who keep up with sport on a more regular basis. It’s important to note how the captions associated with each photo are witty and fun to read. As Professor Strong stated, the captions effectively depict what you can’t see already when looking at the visual. The type is exceptionally well put together and paired with the photo, it invites the audience to find out even more about the situation which the photo was created in.

The subjects in the photographs are captured both in active and passive mode. Some of the athletes are frozen in the moment and seen posing for portraits. On the other hand, there are more photos which highlight the athletes in the middle of competition, on the way up for a slam dunk, finishing off a tackle on the football field, etc. These pictures consist of a mix of wide, medium and close-ups. This contrast is key to establishing solid, easy to follow hierarchy as well as a diverse, consistent alignment of both content and style.

When analyzing shape, the visuals are predominantly big rectangles spread out across the page and occasionally cropped slightly to illustrate the athlete’s purpose in correspondence to the story being told. The magazine does not include any superimposed photos mainly because ESPN makes room for however many photos it takes to get the point across. When it comes to illustrations, there are a handful used in the September issue. They are incredibly fascinating, filled with color, have a tale written below each one of them, and ultimately do a good job catching the reader’s eye.

It’s evident the publication values the importance of image use. The abundance of graphics can seem daunting at first, being that there is at least one of every page. Nonetheless, the balance in size and choice of visual helps keep the style and space consistent across multiple issues of ESPN The Magazine.