Behind the lens: Jackson-Reed’s sports photographers

Natalie Gordon

The energy in the stadium of a Jackson-Reed sports game is unmatched: screaming fans, sweaty athletes, and exuberant Tiger Pride. Students Jack Freed and Tariq Ali, sports photographers for Jackson-Reed’s many teams, use their camera skills to capture the athletes in action.

“I picked up my dad’s camera a few years ago and just started taking photos of my friends and [sports] games I went to,” Ali said. 

He started to get more serious with photography over the summer and, since he is a former Jackson-Reed baseball player, he already had connections with head coach Henry Martinez. Ali began taking photos for the baseball team at Martinez’s request. This winter season, basketball coach David “T” Johnson reached out to him, asking if he’d also photograph the boy’s basketball team.  

“I like to take pictures of both, but the lighting in the Wilson gym is pretty hard to work with,” Ali said. 

Ali transferred to an online school half-way through this year but is still actively involved in Jackson-Reed sports photography. He recently photographed the basketball team’s DCIAA championship win and player Darren Buchanan after his commitment to play at Virginia Tech. 

Jack Freed started his sports photography career by taking pictures of the soccer team earlier this fall season, when a friend and player on the team reached out to him. “I was inspired by the pictures I had seen in museums and on Instagram,“ he said, referring to photography in general. 

Freed then reached out to the basketball coaches and asked if they needed photos. When he finishes his work, he uploads them onto a shared Google Drive for the coaches to see. Freed also does paid photoshoots and photography projects on the side. 

Despite making their mark on the Jackson-Reed athletic department this year for their skilled photography, Ali and Freed are both self-taught. 

“Sometimes when I am taking pictures at games and happen to be near more experienced photographers they’ll teach me,” Freed added. 

For athletes hoping to further their athletic careers in college, having professional-level video and photo content is crucial. Student-athletes often use photography—like the work of Freed and Ali—for posting on Instagram, hoping to catch the eyes of college coaches. Ali hopes to pursue photography in his future while Freed says it’s his second choice, behind becoming a professional soccer player. Both receive community service hours for their work.  You can find their photos on Instagram: Ali at @tariqa1i and Freed at @crashdummyvisuals. •