Shoot I Loved the Most: Athlete of the Month for Sports Illustrated
I have had the opportunity to do some amazing things with my camera. I’ve been to the Super Bowl, two World Series games at Wrigley Field, two NFL Drafts, and I’ve met Kanye West, Olivia Munn and Masters Champion Jordan Spieth. My favorite shoot of all time, however, is surprisingly none of the above. My favorite shoot I’ve ever been a part of brought me to a tiny town called Temperance, Michigan, where I met Hunter and Braden Gandee.
The shoot was for Sports Illustrated for their High School Athlete of the Month segment. Hunter Gandee was awarded HS Athlete of the Month in May 2015. Hunter is a high school wrestler who excels at his sport, but more than that, he excels in his community. Hunter’s younger brother Braden has severe cerebral palsy and is unable to walk without assistance. Braden has struggled with his condition his whole life, and his able-bodied older brother has been by his side to help him through it all. In 2014 Hunter organized a 40-mile walk to raise awareness for cerebral palsy, which he completed while carrying Braden on his back for all 40-miles. The walk not only raised awareness, but also donations and that’s when Hunter came up with the idea to build a handicap accessible playground at his brother’s elementary school.
Getting to tell a story as special and inspiring as this one is something I will never forget. It’s the reason why I chose to become a cameraman in the first place. Stories like these are ones I grew up watching as a kid and now being able to help tell them as an adult is something I truly cherish. While Super Bowls and celebrities are cool and flashy, telling real human stories that inspire people is what I love the most about my job.
To see the full Sports Illustrated story click here!