Top photo: Tori Richman and Kara Durrette
To some, the NFL may seem like an industry dominated by men, but photographers Kara Durrette and Tori Richman have a different thought.
Both women are photographing NFL teams — Durrette for the Atlanta Falcons and Richman for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The two see it as chance to pave the way for women hoping to work in sports.
“We are each responsible for showing that we can do this job well so doors will continue to open for others,” Durrette said. “No matter where we all go from here, we were a part of something much bigger. Watching this group grow and encourage each other means everything to me. The support we receive from our male counterparts is also pretty unbelievable. Football really is family.”
Durrette and Richman were both visual communications majors, and they credit the program for helping them get where they are today and preparing them to take on the NFL. The J-school provided them with access to top-of-the-line equipment, giving them the experience needed to take professional pictures in sports.
Richman was not going to pursue a career in photography until she began working with cameras in her J-school classes. From there, everything fell into place. She believes that the vis comm program is a big part of all that she has achieved.
“I learned a lot about having to separate yourself from your work when taking critiques,” Richman said. “That has helped me so much now because I have thick skin and can’t take things personally, even though the work we create is so personal. My vis comm classes gave me a lot of freedom to be creative because creativity was encouraged by all my professors. It gave me the opportunity to learn through trial and error without having a lot of risk involved like you would in the real world.”
Durrette and Richman believe the Falcons and Buccaneers are each one small family. Everyone in the organization wants each other to succeed because they are all working toward the same goal. The two want fans to experience that through their photos.
“Action photos are great, but I love getting to capture the moments that aren’t seen on TV or from the stands — the close-ups of players, capturing their pre-game routines, or just finding the stuff that makes each player unique so that fans can see and relate more to the people they cheer on,” Richman said.
Both acknowledge the vis comm faculty members who went out of their way to help them have the proper gear for a shoot and encouraged them to speak up for themselves and their work.
“I’m extremely happy and grateful to be where I am,” Durrette said. “I can’t say I have an end goal — I just try to get a little better each day.”