Through the Lens is our interview series highlighting the photographers from around the globe who are creating art that inspires us to see running differently.
This edition of Through the Lens is with Bronx-based photographer, Joe Hale. Joe has been behind the camera for some of our most memorable photos to-date. We all remember the BanditAir TWA shot...
Or perhaps a deeper cut, our Winter Collection's "out of body experience" shot:
Joe is a magician with a camera in his hands and every COOL magician gives away their tricks. Here's what the man has to say for himself...
I’m from Upstate NY, Schenectady, East Glenville if we’re getting real specific. Home to some absolute legends on the running scene. I now live in NYC, and am a freelance photographer. I’m 22 years old, and have been freelancing for 6 years now, but I would say at a ‘professional level’ for 3. I graduated from Manhattan College in May, and now I get to run around with a camera for a living. It’s a blast! My work has been used by the likes of Nike, adidas, Under Armor, On Running, New Generation Track and Field, and... Bandit. Growing up, I wanted to be a second baseman for the Yankees, then good at running, and fell short at both of those. Now I’m a very mediocre runner, but always down to run if there’s a friend around. A fun fact about me is that I was nearly arrested at last year’s world Championships and was wrongly accused of stealing Legend the Bigfoot’s head. But that's a story for another day!
- Favorite camera: Right now, it’s the Canon R5. It’s crazy how powerful these devices are now - even from getting my first real pro-grade DSLR 4 years ago the tech inside them has improved so much. A picky thing I miss about my old camera (1DXii is the shutter sound. The 1Dx has a great sound when you take a photo)
- Film or digital: Digital - I tried getting into film but for one, it’s way too expensive, and two, I just like having the control of the digital image and being able to edit it how I want. I recently picked up a Fuji x100v a few months ago, and although it’s not film, the film simulations on fuji are close enough for what I use it for so that seems to satisfy my film desires.
- Landscape or portrait: Portrait all day
- Color or black & white: Color. From my answer to the two questions above I have photography traditionalists rolling their eyes but what can I say - I’m a Gen Z kid! The editing process is debatably my favorite part of shooting and I could spend time in Capture One tweaking colors for hours if deadlines allowed for it.
- Action or still: Still - My favorite shots are the portraits pre/post all of the action
- New Gen or Old Gen: Old heads who are New Gen. New Gen is a mindset!
- Favorite photo book: Portraits by Gunner Stahl. I picked it up right when it came out in 2019 and loved how Gunner captured some of my favorite artists and really brought out their personalities through the portraits. Big inspo for NGTF work.
- Favorite photographer right now: Right now, Neil Leifer. So many iconic sports photographs and portraits. But this changes super frequently, so it could very well be someone new by next week.
- Best photography advice: Bring your camera and shoot as much as you can. Reps, reps, reps. It’s cliche, but practice really does make perfect in photography. You get so much better every time you shoot, testing different techniques and learning how certain lighting situations can work together to make an image.
- Three words for your photo: Fun, Intimate, Detailed
Five favorite photos:
I spent a lot of the COVID pandemic in Boulder working as the team photographer for Tinman Elite. This image was shot for adidas as part of their shoe and spike collaboration for TME. This image was a part of my first global campaign, and represents a lot of progress in starting my career and realizing I could make it work to be a full time photographer.
I originally met Athing (2x gold medalist, world champion, world record holder) when I was working at the Armory back in like 2018. I was a freshman in college, and she was wrapping up junior year of high school. Since then she’s always been a joy to see at meets and has taken the world by storm. It’s been so cool seeing all of her success, from when she was already an American Record holder back then to present day when she’s a multiple time gold medalist. This photo was taken at NCAA Outdoors in 2021, her final collegiate meet. It even randomly ended up on a banner in her hometown celebrating her accomplishments!
The lovely people behind this newsletter (that would be Bandit) sent me to Berlin to photograph some of their sponsored athletes on an OTQ attempt, and Eliud also happened to be in the race. Here’s him realizing he set the World Record, 2:01:09
At NCAA Outdoors last year in Eugene I wanted to do a project capturing all different athletes that were competing in the champs. I put out a feeler on my IG story asking who would be interested in participating in the project, and without many details got a whole lot of interest. We ended up going from hotel to hotel and setting up with a single strobe in athlete’s hotel rooms, photographing them in their race uniform. This photo of Joe Fahnbulleh was the morning after he won both the 100m and 200m titles. Big shoutout to Jan and Rub for assisting this project - without them it would've been a mess.
Enough of the running. Some Boulder alpacas for your enjoyment.