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Rio 2016

My Rio 2016 Research

My Rio 2016 Research

As my 10th Olympic Games, Rio 2016 was a long time coming, having seen it through from bid stag to completion and, in recent years, working more closely with the media operations team at the International Olympic Committee.

While here, I shot around 100gb of photographs, attended around 20 sports, wrote 4 articles for the news, interviewed for around 20 different outlets, re-designed and wrote for a magazine, and continued by longitudinal research into media change at the Olympics, this time focused on social media and new forms of broadcasting. Articles to follow.

I also made a film about life in one of Rio's favela, and even managed to publish a two page spread in the Times Higher Education about social media (unrelated to the Games!). It has been an epic fortnight, my most productive Games yet and it is possible thanks especially to the University of Salford, Manchester , which continues to support me tremendously in all my endeavours.



The Photographers of Rio 206

The Photographers of Rio 206

New article out with The Conversation, focuses on the amazing community of photographers at the Games. Here it is...

Incredible images from Rio 2016, as photographers rise to meet social media challenges

Andy Miah, University of Salford

More than 1,500 of the world’s best photographers flocked to Rio for the Olympic Games, capturing inspiring and surprising images of the world’s biggest sporting event. From Reuters to National Geographic, the games draw professional photographers of all stripes – not just ones that cover sport.

Mario Tama (mariotama), Getty Images photographer. Currently based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil by way of New York City.

Everyone’s a pro

But with the rise of digital and mobile photography, capturing the landmark moments of the Olympics is a much harder gig today than it used to be. Countless people inside the venues have their own high-quality cameras – and what they don’t manage to capture, they can find online from someone else in the audience, simply by following a hashtag on Twitter or Instagram.

This army of amateurs – which includes the athletes themselves – can even publish their photographs online without worrying about getting in trouble from the International Olympic Committee – provided they don’t use the images for commercial purposes.

Jessica Ennis-Hill (jessicaennishill) takes a selfie with Usain Bolt.

Getting creative

As a result, today’s professional photographers have to be more creative and more innovative than their predecessors. They have to develop a unique sense of what makes a photograph historically important. And even then, there’s a chance that someone will have the same idea; remember that iconic photograph of Usain Bolt smiling over his shoulder during the 100 metre heat? Well, there are actually two of these.

Cameron Spencer (cjspencois), Sydney based Getty Images staff photographer.

High tech

So, to set themselves apart from the crowd, professional photographers are having to use technology more creatively. There are some remarkable gadgets on show at Rio; from cameras which can go in the water and fly through the air, to rigs which can take 360° footage.

Bob Martin (bubblesontour), photographer and grandfather.

Working for free

Photographers are also having to share more of their work for free, in the hope that this exposure will help them to secure new commissions. Platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat and Flickr are key destinations for photographers to showcase their latest snaps.

Gary Hershorn (garyhershorn), NYC based photographer and photo editor. Former Reuters, now contributing to SilverHub Media and Getty Images.

Maintaining control

The challenge here is that controlling one’s images online is not so easy, as people repost, copy, and distribute often without seeking permission, paying royalties, or even attributing properly. One of the leading photo agencies, Getty, dealt with this recently by allowing people to use a certain number of photos online for free, using a simple embed code, which links the image back to their website.

Adam Pretty (adampretty).

Going mainstream

Newspapers still want to illustrate their front pages with the iconic image of any given sports event: the photo that everyone expects to see. New platforms attract millions of users, with reports already indicating that most social traffic comes from the photo and video sharing platform Instagram. Social media also creates a simple way of measuring images' popularity through “likes” or “favourites”. So the mainstream media has good cause to sit up and pay attention.

Fun social media stories are also a big hit at the games, as was true of US athlete Ben Kanute, who staged his own opening ceremony, when he couldn’t make the official one.

Mark Reis (mark.reis).

Avant garde artists

With the rise of citizen generated media, the photographer’s future may be in jeopardy: Instagram likes don’t always pay the bills. But challenges like these are often a catalyst for major shifts in how avant garde artists make new work. Consider Gerald Andel – one of the first Olympic Artists in Residence – who is using Twitter’s six-second video app Vine to make unusual work.

A new age

Photography is no exception and to get a glimpse of this transformation in the sports genre, take a look at the work of these extraordinary artists whose work may prove to be indicative of sport photography’s new golden age, where photographers have now become videographers, animators, and much more.

Nick Didlick Nikon Ambassador, professional photographer/videographer and digital imaging pioneer. Exploring and loving the intensely visual world we live in.

Donald Miralle (donaldmiralle), Photographer, Waterman, Husband, Father.“

David Burnett (davidburnettfoto), freelance photographer for National Geographic.

David Ramos (davidramosgetty) staff photographer with Getty Images in Barcelona.

Lucy Nicholson (lucynic) Reuters senior staff photographer. Born in London; based in LA, covering news, sport and features.

Jed Jacobsohn (jedjacobsohn).

Anthony Edgar (anthonyedgar888).

Al Bello (albello55), Sports photographer at Getty Images”

Christophe Simon (christophesimonafp).

John Lehmann (johnlehmann), staff photojournalist with the Globe and Mail based in Vancouver, Canada.

The Conversation

Andy Miah, Chair in Science Communication & Future Media, University of Salford

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Rio 2016 Olympic Games

For the next 17 days, I'll be working at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. This will be my 10th Olympic Games, including Winter, Summer, and Youth, since Sydney 2000. At every Olympic Games, I have multiple roles and agendas.

Since London 2012, I have been working with the IOC Young Reporters' Programme, led by Anthony Edgar, who is the IOC's Head of Media Operations. Understanding how the media work is one part of this work and it's really ethnographic, as I work among the journalists. I also use the opportunity to develop my own practice as a journalist, but I'm not nearly in the same category of those people who work on assignment after assignment, day after day. Over the years, I have got to know quite a few of the best journalists that come to the Games and they have an extraordinary work ethic.

Most accredited people at the Games - if not everybody - has a very specific role to play and often only see a fraction of what happens around an Olympic city. Part of what I try to do in my research, is obtain a holistic sense of the operation, which means going to sports, press conferences, local neighbourhoods, and understanding how the city runs the Games. 

I'll also give a talk at a conference while here, and interview a lot for the media. It's a full on fortnight. The last 8 Olympic Games are being written up in my next book, Sport 2.0, coming out with MIT Press next year. It's the end of an era - the first decade of social media - and it's fantastic to be at yet another Olympic city. This will be my third book to write about the Olympic Games, but it goes much broader than that, into all things digital, from social media to virtual reality.

There's no better way to get to know a city and its community than to examine it through the lens of the Olympic Games and I look forward to leaving Rio a little more of a Carioca than before I came. Show time. 

My Photographs from the Games

The Drugs Won #Rio2016

The Drugs Won #Rio2016

Here's the latest doping article I was involved with, produced by VICE magazine. It's a pretty thoughtful and unusual piece, doing a lot of interesting historical work.  I wasn't aware that my colleague Dr Paul Dimeo lost his role on US Cycling anti-doping due to speaking out. It's an unfortunate situation in the world of sport, that it only utiizes like-minded people to hold such roles. Imagine a democracy where everyone thought the same thing. Societies progress by setting up tensions between competing views. Very little can progress on the anti-doping issue, without some agitators calling into question the effectiveness of the mission, every step of the way.


Rio 2016 #Falta1Ano

Rio 2016 #Falta1Ano


This week, Rio marked the 1 year to go anniversary before the opening of the Olympic Games. I always try to get to an Olympic city ahead of the event and spent my time here attending the official press conference of the organizers in the morning, and the civic protest in the afternoon. Here's what the latter looked like. It was a small group and very peaceful. It was also not focused only on the Olympics, but instead a range of groups were present, all of whom have complaints that may be tied to the wider changes around the city.