Story behind the Sony World Photo Shortlist – Rob Gregory

Rebecca Greig

Sony has recently announced the shortlisted photographers for the Sony World Photo awards, we talked to Rob Gregory about his amazing shot

These images were created for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago's Adaptive Sports Program and the RIC Hornets wheelchair basketball team.

What camera and settings did you use to take the shot?

I shot these images on my Nikon D800 with my Nikon 70-200 vrII lens and the following settings:
Shot in Camera RAW. ISO 100. 1/250. F11.

How much planning was involved? Did you go out with an idea of the kind of shot you wanted?

A decent amount of planning went into this work because of the specific nature of what we wanted to accomplish. The Superman shot was the first idea that I liked, but after that everything started falling into place. I sketched out all of the shots beforehand so everyone knew exactly what we were looking to create.

Can you tell us a little more about the image?

This series was created to promote the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago’s Adaptive Sports Program and the RIC Hornets wheelchair basketball team. The sports program at RIC has a large impact on a lot of people’s lives and my goal was to create a campaign that would raise awareness about the great work that they do.

I lost my leg to cancer 5 years ago and started playing wheelchair basketball shortly afterwards. Not knowing anything about the sport before I started playing, I was surprised at the level of athleticism I discovered in my teammates. When my coach asked if I could create some marketing materials for the team, I immediately knew this was the theme I wanted to explore. Most people have preconceived notions about what people with disabilities are able to do and I wanted to break through those assumptions by featuring these guys as the high-caliber athletes that they are.

What do you like about the picture?

The thing I like most about this picture, and actually all of the images in this series, is how much the guys in the pictures love them. These guys have all been playing wheelchair basketball for a long time and it was very rewarding to be able to create some powerful work that features them doing what they love.

Did you do much to it in post-processing?

I process all of my images in Photoshop and am definitely an advocate for its use. Post-processing is what allows you to put your unique stamp on your images. This was true back when I shot film and is still true today. I use a non-destructive editing process to work on my images that allows me to enhance details, skin tones, etc.

How do you feel about being one of the shortlisted photographers?

I am incredibly honored that this campaign has been chosen for the shortlist in the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards. The response from media outlets around the world has been overwhelming. I hope that this extra attention will continue to raise awareness about the positive impact the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago’s Adaptive Sports Program has on so many lives. I am just glad that I was able to bring this level of attention to a program so worthy of praise.

All the shortlisted images will be shown at Somerset House, London as part of the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition from 22 April – 8 May 2016.

The shortlisted photographers are now competing to win their category and the L’Iris d’Or Photographer of the Year and Open Photographer of the Year titles plus a share of the $30,000 grand prize, the winners will be announced at a Gala Ceremony in London on the 21 April 2016

The Sony World Photography Awards rewards and recognises the world’s best contemporary photography from the last year. Attracting photographers of all abilities, the awards incorporate four competitions: Professional; Open; Youth and Student.

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