I’ve played tennis since I was a little pup way back when and started competing when I was 10 years old. So when the VanOpen first began in the early 2000’s, it was a no brainer that I would get involved.
I first shot for them in 2005, when the tournament was a very small women’s only event. Since then it’s grown into a full scale women’s and men’s Challenger tournament (the equivalent of tennis’s minor leagues), and regularly gets players ranked as high as #50 in the world competing. The past two years (18 and 19) it was voted by the players as the best Challenger tournament in the world.
By 2018, I felt my contributions were getting a bit stale. I no longer wanted to approach it like a sports event shoot. So I pitched the organizers an idea that would both inspire me and give them unique fine art style event photos of the action and the surroundings. It’s not easy to do that with an action sport that mostly takes place during the day. The formula I settled on was to follow the light and always find unique angles. I wanted to take the tennis player out of the context of a tennis tournament and simply look at them through my eyes as human form.
The results are images that have more feeling than your average sports/action photo. It’s in these moments that my fresher approach actually returned to the images a new sense of the emotion of the players, the fans, the venue and this unique West Vancouver located tournament was captured.
Jon’s photography of the Odlum Brown VanOpen is exceptional. He does an incredible job of using the light whether it's a daytime or evening tennis match. Jon captures more than outstanding action shots of players, he also finds a way to highlight the culture of our tournament with his unique angles and catching precious candid moments. We are grateful that Jon loves tennis as much as he does, as shooting outside in the heat of the summer with multiple show courts and special events running everyday of the tournament is definitely a challenge. We are constantly impressed with his quality images and his ability to appear in the right place at the right time with little direction.- Carlota Lee, Tournament Chair, Odlum Brown VanOpen