I am not particularly interested in sports but this photograph really appeals to me. The Irish team who competed at the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles show more personality and character than any current sporting ‘stars’ I can think of. They have real style and wear their blazers with swagger – some great haircuts as well. The team included two gold medalists. Dr. Pat O’Callaghan (second from the left) won the hammer-throwing event. He had to cut the spikes off his shoes mid competition, as he didn’t realise that the event was to take place on cinder rather than grass. It also includes another gold medalist Bob Tisdall (fourth from the left) from Tipperary, who won the 400m hurdles despite having only competed in the event on a few occasions prior to the Games. Fortunately none of the team are wearing the infamous knitted tracksuits which they brought with them to Los Angeles!
Another thing which attracted me to this press photograph was the fact that you can see the processes which were used to prepare the image for publication. The manipulation of this photograph changes a standard press shot into a one-of-a-kind object. The background is partially blotted out using white ink and a face is isolated in advance of the production of halftone printing plates . Stanley B. Burns collects such photographs and I recently bought a book based on his collection News Art: manipulated photographs from the Burns Archive which includes some interesting examples of this sub genre of vernacular photography.