The Decisive Moment: Sports Photography from GRAM’s Collection

Dec 19, 2023 — Apr 7, 2024
Secchia Upper Lobby Gallery

About the Exhibition

Sports photographers do much more than capture the action on the field. Their images give shape to the emotions, intensity, and drama of the game. They preserve the beauty of the human body in motion. They use their finely tuned skills to capture compelling images in the heat of the moment. And like other artists, they tell stories with their images. Stories of passion, sacrifice, disappointment, and victory. 

The title of this exhibition comes from French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson who coined the phrase the decisive moment’ to describe the instant when the action before the camera lens is not simply captured by the photographer but organized in such a way as to give it power and grace, balance, and form. As Walter Iooss Jr., one of the most famous sports photographers in the world, describes it something magical happens”.

This exhibition of sports photography from GRAM’s collection includes several photographs by Iooss. With a career spanning over five decades, Iooss has immortalized icons like Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali as well as passionate amateur athletes, like groups of Cuban children playing baseball in the street. The exhibition includes images of 19th century sumo wrestlers and photos taken by the young Jacques-Henri Lartigue, to illustrate how early sports photography was limited by camera technology, as well as work by legendary photojournalist Gordon Parks.