World-renowned photographer’s MAP presentation inspires students

November 16, 2017 — by Connie Liang

Every four years, the Olympics are broadcast worldwide, reaching audiences of in every country. On the screen, footage of races and images of beaming athletes after victorious competitions are shared back and forth with ease.

However, the process of acquiring those pictures is a much more difficult process than it seems to us viewers at home — a process that photographer Jeff Cable, who is most well-known for photographing the last five Olympic games, is accustomed to.

The freelance photographer, who is based locally, gave a presentation on Nov. 9 for the MAP Speaker Series, sharing the unique opportunities and experiences in photography to students and parents.

For example, Cable often takes nearly a thousand photos during each quarter of sporting events and has to select, edit and send the best shots to publications within 15 minutes, since they require them for immediate social media output.

This willingness to endure what can be arduous and stressful circumstances stems from his passion for the art of photography, which developed after he received an upscale camera as a gift from a friend.

As Cable, who then worked in the tech industry, ventured into this hobby more and more during his spare time, the more his passion for photography increased. After a while, he decided to forsake his corporate job and become a full-time photographer.

Starting as an amateur shooting personal events in the local Bay Area such as Bar Mitzvahs and weddings, Cable worked his way up to his current status as a photographer by forging connections with other photographers and soon landed into the world of Olympic photography.

From there, Cable’s passion helped propel him to the top of the photography world, and he became globally admired for his work. For example, at the 2012 London Games, Cable was the head photographer for the two U.S. water polo teams, with his photos even landing front-page covers on magazines such as Swimming World.

Cable’s success didn’t come easily, however, as he described the competitive world of photography. He explained that even if he did happen to take a good shot amidst the dozens of bustling photographers on the sidelines of sporting events, his shots are often copied, with others then taking credit for a picture that he took.

As difficult as it is receiving rightful credit for shots, Cable manages to capture precise shots of teams ranging from a variety of sports such as swimming to beach volleyball.

Cable isn’t just an Olympic photographer. He even teaches photography at all levels, from beginner to professional.

His photography tours are held in exotic places in the world, such as Costa Rican rainforests, which are the location of his most current tour. Also, his YouTube videos have garnered millions of views, influencing photographers from all regions.

For many students, learning about Cable’s journey from a low-profile photographer to one who shoots for the U.S. Olympic Committee and is an influential figure in photography is an inspiring story.

“Photography really is a competitive industry, and you do have to work hard no matter which field you’re in,” junior MAP student Nick Bray said, noting that it was Cable’s hard work that has enabled him to reap so much success.

For Sophomore MAP student Emma Cooper, the presentation was a testament to how far genuine passion can take you.

“From the presentation I took the cheesy ‘follow your dreams’ lesson,” Cooper said. “But Cable loved photography and he put enough effort into it to become a professional, so I guess if you really love something, don’t give up on it and you’ll succeed.”


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