Riley’s Ruminations: Photographer Picks Favorite Athletics Photos From an Unusual Year
From restrictions on where he could stand during games, to limited access to student-athletes and coaches and having to wear a mask as his viewfinder or eyepiece fogged up in cold weather, the pandemic made Matt Riley’s job as the official photographer of University of Virginia athletics difficult.
But Riley said the biggest challenge was not having the assistance of UVA student interns, who in normal times would help him shoot games. And, of course, the stands were far emptier than usual, as fan attendance at most events was extremely limited.
Still, Riley had plenty to do. By his count, he photographed more than 140 UVA athletic events during the 2020-21 academic year and took more than 500,000 images, surpassing his previous high by nearly 200,000.
On some days, Riley would shoot five or six events, walking approximately 10 miles between facilities. He would then get home and have hours of online photo galleries to create, sometimes not getting to bed until 3 or 4 in the morning.
Then he would get to do it all again the next day.
“There were times when I wasn’t sure I was going to make it through, but I was thankful to have a job and still tell the story of this amazing place and the student-athletes and coaches that I love,” Riley said. “There were some amazing moments along the way.”
Without further ado, here are some of Riley’s favorites, with his comments: