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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Dave Shopland/Shutterstock (12236711s)

Exclusive: Olympic Games Photographer Explains Unique Tokyo 2020

Image Credit: Dave Shopland/Shutterstock

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s the one-week mark of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games draws closer and the Olympics dominate news headlines with images like never before, Ministry of Sport spoke with experienced sports photographer for Shutterstock, Dave Shopland, who has an all-access pass in Tokyo.

Discussing the absence of fans in Tokyo for the Olympics, Shopland said the focus will initially remain on empty venues.

“I think that will be the case at first, where photographers want to highlight empty seats in order to showcase the really unique aspect of this year’s Games,” Shopland told Ministry of Sport.

“Once people accept the Games as exclusive to media coverage, then photographers can concentrate more so on the athletes, capturing the breathtaking action shots and all-important celebration pictures that we know and expect, highlighting the work Olympians have put into their training for these historic Games,” he said.

On the change to access for photographers in Tokyo in the COVID-19 world, Shopland said: “We expect to see a mixture of both greater restrictions and increased access, depending on the event.”

“For example, due to Tokyo’s current policies, photographer access to indoor events, such as swimming and gymnastics, will be reduced based on venue capacity.

“Coverage of outdoor events, such as the triathlon and marathons, however, will be greater due to the more expansive environment that allows for more photographers in the space.

“Because of the overall reduced number of photographers in attendance this year, our access at outdoor events will actually be more exclusive than ever before.

“We’ll have more space to catch the action, these photos should be unparalleled compared to previous Games…

“Of the two football events I have covered so far, the access has been brilliant which I hope is a good indication of how it will bode for the rest of the Games,” he said.

When asked what aspects of the Tokyo Olympics he is most looking forward to, Shopland pointed to the blue-ribbon events.

“I always enjoy covering the blue-ribbon events in swimming, athletics and gymnastics the most,” Shopland said.

“I feel that these sports provide the most fantastic content, which is ever important in this year’s Games as photographers and media serve as the only way to connect viewers with the events worldwide.

“I think that these Games will go down in history as the COVID Games.

“Olympians have undergone significant obstacles to reach this point due to the pandemic, and so winning athletes will hope to perform and celebrate just the same as if it was an Olympic Games under normal conditions,” he told Ministry of Sport.