If you are a chess organizer, and you think you can not afford to hire a photographer, you are wrong: you cannot afford NOT to hire one!
We live in a world where appearance matters. We may like it or not, but this is a fact. Another fact: nowadays everybody has a photo camera, but that doesn’t turn everybody into a photographer. Hiring a professional is far from being a superfluous expense.
The quality of the pictures taken during a chess event will make a huge difference on how the tournament is perceived by the public and, more importantly, your sponsors and the media.
A proffesional and gamourous photography could be the hook that leads a news editor to publish a report on your event, while a poor one will probably spoil your chances of making it to the news.
Last but not least: photography and video will be decisive on how the tournament will be remembered. We all know how much effort it takes to organize a chess tournament, how hard it is to gather sponsorship. Why would you ruin it by giving an amateurish impression of your work?
I can only attend a few events per year, so if you are interested in my services, you better book in advance! However, if I am not available to work in your tournament, I could suggest you some names: Fred Lucas, Ray Morris-Hill, Alina l’Ami, Arman Karakhanyan, Maria Emelianova or Lennart Ootes, to name just a few who are familiar with chess and chess players.
If you really want to please your sponsors, maybe a photo exhibition could fit into your plans. Along with simuls and street chess, it is one of the best possible side activities to attract the attention of the general public.
My photography project, “The Thinkers”, was named after Rodin’s most famous sculpture. It countains portraits of chess players –professionals or amateurs- taken along the past 4 or 5 years in cities like London, Moscow, Chennai, Bilbao, Sao Paulo, Istanbul, Mexico or Shanghai.
The idea is not to hold the exibition in the playing hall or the chess club itself, but in a cultural center, art gallery, or even in a shopping mall: a place with a bigger afluence of public.
My pictures are being printed directly in aluminium, which makes them water and weatherproof, so the instalation could even be done outdoors!
Over the past few years I have built up a huge archive of portraits, so I got pictures good pictures enough to make a large exhibition, with up to 40 pieces. Many of them could be available in large sizes, such as 150x100cm.
And there could also be a sub-theme within the exhibition: for instance, if the event was taking place in India, it could include portraits of the top 10 indian players, plus 20-30 other pictures.
This exhibition could be a good way to attract the curiosity of people towards chess, and to make them feel involved with the chess event taking place in their city. Plus, it offers something “visual” to charm the sponsors and authorities with. I always say that chess is not the most visual of sports, so we have to try hard to make the most of what we have.
Having been an organizer AND a sponsor myself, I'm pretty sure it is easier to get 50.000€ from a sponsor for a chess event that includes side activities and some visual material, rather than getting 30.000€ for a tournament without any of this.