Chris McGrath, the man behind the camera

11 March, 2014   Kenneth Ho

Chris McGrath sports photography workshop

Chris McGrath (above) was in town to share tips and insights on sports photography at a workshop organised by the Singapore Sports Council. (Photo by VoxSports).

Being a professional photographer was not on Chris McGrath’s mind after he graduated from his high school, and it was also not an easy career path for him.

These were some of the revelations that McGrath shared with a group of sports photography enthusiasts, which included Singapore Sports Council photographers, on 9 March, where he took centre stage to share his experience with budding sports photographers.

Prior to that, the young McGrath had then envisaged of going on to higher education, and attaining his degree. However, his dreams were soon dashed. 

Unable to qualify for his choice of study in university, the then 19-year-old was left to ponder about his next step in life.

As he contemplated the future, McGrath decided to pass some time capturing snapshots of his love for skateboarding.

“I loved sports, and in particular, skateboarding,” he explained, “So I thought why not capture the moments of skateboarding to see how it looked like and from there on a passion for photography was fuelled.”

As fate would have it, it would eventually land McGrath a gig as a photographer at his local newsroom, where he learnt the bread and butter of photography.

“Gaining practical experience while I was on the job, being taught what moments were poignant and how something should be shot, that was something I gained,” he said.

After many years of work experience under his belt, McGrath is now a veteran in the field of sports photography, as he counted being tasked to capture monumental moments at the Olympic Games among his most cherished memories.

Displaying his past works, McGrath explained to his audience the story behind each photo, and the process of attaining the shot, and how certain techniques may be applied in alternate scenarios. As the seminar came to a close, McGrath decided to end the session with a friendly piece of advice.

“There were moments in my career when I doubted my capabilities, I fretted over missed moments, about missing more pictures than what I got in my camera,” McGrath said. 

“But believe in yourself, and keep at what you are doing. As you continue, you will eventually develop a keen sense of photography, an intuition of the scenes about to unravel before your eyes and instinctively you will be capturing those moments,” he shared.

A preview of Chris McGrath's works for Getty Images