Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Nyle Leatham

Shooting Wire: "One of the best-known and liked figures in competitive shooting, Nyle Leatham died last Friday after a short bout with pancreatic cancer. In addition to being the father of Rob 'The Great One' Leatham, twenty-one time national USPSA Champion, Nyle is widely recognized as the innovator in using remote photography to document the sport of practical shooting. It was Nyle's innovation that in the 1980s and 1990s first allowed readers of shooting magazines to actually see the faces of shooters in action. " [Ed: Emphasis Added.]
From The Shooting Wire (and also from so many other sources, such as the Michael Bane Blog), we learn of the passing of one of The Greats of Competition Shooting.

It may be a diminution of Nyle Leatham's Legacy to emphasize that he was the father of The Great One ... Rob "TGO" Leatham. But I doubt Nyle would object to this. I'm sure he was immensely proud of his "over-achiever" son.

Instead, we might take a minute to focus on Nyle's contribution to Competition Shooting, as is mentioned in Jim Scouten's "The Shooting Wire" eulogy.

Leathem was indeed the innovator who introduced the "Remote Camera", and provided us with fascinating photos of the faces of competitors during the actual target engagement and moving-toward-targets which added such excitement to (for example) cover photos for "Front Sight" magazine.

As a wanna-be photographer on a limited budged, I was never able to invest in the expensive equipment which safely allowed me to place a camera down-range. But I always sought the vantage point which would provide me with even a monentary glimpse of the face of The Shooter.

I was ever dissatisfied with "Butt-Shots", no matter how interesting they may be due to unusual circumstances.

Why? Because Nyle Leatham showed me that a frontal view of the shooter (or even a profile) was a much more interesting shot, and while I never expected to be able to provide, the sharp, exciting views which he provided as a normal state of affairs, I knew that there were always opportunities for a better view.

The quest for close, personal and identifiable Moments in Shooting Competition led me to situations which were momentarily hairy, but afforded me some of the best film footage (emphasizing videos, rather than static photos) of my career to day. I've been 'swept', I've been terrified ... but I have always chased the standard of competition photography which has been established, and exemplified, by Nyle Leatham.

Angle, lighting, close-action and context are EVERYTHING in Action Photography. These things I have learned from Nyle Leatham.

Nyle, this shot's for you.

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