Welcome to fotosportif.com sports photography, a site dedicated to capturing the excitement and artistry of sports. It is a showcase for my sports photography, which currently comprises mostly gymnastics. Visit my galleries, and if there are any images you would like to purchase as high-resolution prints (electronic file or physical print) for a very reasonable fee, just contact me. If you are a fan of gymnastics, hop over to my gymnastics blog, Gymnastics Today. (Gym2day.com). I am available for hire to shoot your gymnastics or other sporting event, team photo, or classes for quality souvenir photos for clubs, coaches, parents and gymnasts or for use in promoting your gym, club or events. Just contact me and I’ll be happy to discuss any assignment.
WHO AM I? My name is Jim Bierbaum, I live in Wilmington, Delaware and I am an avid sports photographer, & although I’ve sold a handful of photos, I am mostly amateur & feel as if I learn something new and get a little better every event I shoot. Most of my photography has focused on sports, dance & performing arts, and candid events/gatherings, using available light (flash is prohibited at most sporting and arts events). I’ve shot a couple of weddings for pay, but it’s not where my strengths or interests lie, despite the money that can be made in that business. My main focus has been been on artistic gymnastics, from JO/Excel up to International Elite competition. I am a lifelong gymnastics fan (ever since watching—at the age of 9—Olga Korbut mesmerize the world at the 1972 Munich Olympics; as an aside I’m thrilled to say that today I am a Facebook friend of Olga’s). After many years of having to wait for the Olympics to roll around every four years to see any gymnastics coverage on TV, once the era of cable had fully arrived, in the early 1990s I started paying much closer attention to the sport. I’ve never trained, competed, coached or officiated in the sport at all, I’m just a fan. Most of my friends and family think I’m a bit odd to be so nuts about gymnastics; in retrospect, I suppose when I started trying in about 2013 to read the FIG Code of Points and Gerald George’s biomechanical text, and when I drove 900 miles from Wilmington to St. Louis in one straight shot for the 2016 P&G Championships, I guess I can’t blame non-fans for thinking my enthusiasm might be a tad over the top.
I enjoy sports photography, with challenge of spontaneity and keen sense of timing it requires to get a good shot as opposed to an awkward, unappealing one. Gymnastics in particular I enjoy shooting because of what a challenge it is to shoot well (especially with the awful lighting in some of the dungeon-like college gyms I’ve visited). My first gymnastics event trying to photograph in person was the 2001 US National Championships, held in Philadelphia. I was shooting from the stands with two 1960’s Pentax 35mm SLR camera, with manual film advance and manual-focus lenses. I was pleased to get as many decent photos as I did, but the arrival of the digital photography age has made things so much easier and cheaper in some ways (cost of kit aside, pics are on reusable memory cards, so there’s no cost for film or processing).
Living in Delaware, the events I shoot involve the colleges and clubs within reasonable distance, so you’ll find plenty of photos from Hill’s Maryland Classic and Parkettes Invitational, and the colleges in the region. In the dozens of NCAA meets I’ve shot, I’ve been able to see teams such as Maryland, George Washington, Towson, West Chester, Penn, North Carolina, West Virginia, plus 2005 and 2015 NCAA regionals, with top programs like Florida (with Bridget Sloan and Kytra Hunter), Stanford (Ivana Hong) and Illinois (2015 Northeast Regional), as well as 2005 NE Regional with Michigan (Elise Ray), Georgia (Ashley Kuptets, Nikki Childs, Katie Heenan). On the international elite side, I shot the 2001 US Gymnastics National Championships, the 2008 US Olympic trials, plus I got lots of great shots of a parade of international stars on ESPN2’s 2013 Pro Gymnastics Challenge, where competitors included Catalina Ponor, Oksana Chusovitina, Anna Pavlova, Chellsie Memmel, Jana Bieger, Jade Barbosa, Jessica López, Jonathan Horton, Jake Dalton, Alex Naddour and Paul Ruggeri, with celebrity coaches/judges such as Svetlana Boguinskaya, Nastia Liukin, Dominique Moceanu and Maddy Curley. I had a front row seat, and the dramatic lighting for television made for some of my best photos, and it was also a real thrill to see some of my idols and legends of the sport compete in person. More recently I’ve also been to the US Nationals in 2014-2016 (plus the GK US Classic in 2016 and 2018), but at such big events you need to have a press credential for them to let you bring in a decent camera, so until such time as I can get a press credential (I’ve got some irons in the fire), the number of halfway decent photos I can get from those events is very small.
Please also visit my gymnastics blog www.gym2day.com, with news and commentary on gymnastics (mostly WAG, from JO to international elite to NCAA.
All photos on this site are copyright Jim Bierbaum/fotosportif.com, unless otherwise noted. If you’d like to use any of my photos, I’m amenable to any reasonable request that provides proper photo credit, so contact me.