Mind Over Matter
Better Photography|September 2021
Gurinder Osan speaks about his rigorous training and meticulous planning that went into capturing some of the most popular images at the Tokyo Olympics 2021.
Gurinder Osan

Following the Afro-Asian Games in 2003, David Guttenfelder, my senior and friend at The Associated Press (AP) commented, “Not Olympic material yet.” As a mentor, his words mattered, and thus began a dogged pursuit towards becoming ‘Olympic material’. Eventually, when the prospect of covering the games in Tokyo presented itself, after a three-decade-long career as a photojournalist, I was determined to go.

This assignment was a watershed moment in my career. As a team leader at the Hindustan Times for five years, and now, at Press Trust of India (PTI) for four years, I have had fewer chances to pick up my camera, as I have always prioritised my team members for shoots. Although I am a photographer at heart, my role inadvertently tilted me towards the managerial aspects of the operation.

COVID-19, however, had other plans. The Tokyo Olympic 2020 was postponed to 2021, and as the number of cases grew exponentially, the possibility of the Olympics taking place decreased in parallel. Amidst all the uncertainty, I picked up the baton late from my colleague, who chose not to go considering the risks and uncertainty. Thus began the elaborate paperwork needed for adhering not just to the regular Olympic paperwork, but also the added COVID protocols. It wasn’t easy. A cursory calculation tells me that I spent 50% energy in ensuring the multiple layers of permissions, approvals, COVID-19 tests being in place, 40% in reaching the various venues that were far apart, and a mere 10% on actual photography! Having said that, and in hindsight, it was totally worth it!

The other major sports events that I had covered were for AP, where an entire team was dedicated to paperwork and logistics work, as is the case for all international newswire agencies. So whether it was the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and New Delhi, the Asian Games in Guangzhou, or the multiple cricket matches covered across the sub-continent, all I had to do was pack my bags and go. So now, filling the paperwork and unravelling every nuance of the travel and other formalities was a first for me, and I struggled. There were unexpected hurdles that kept delaying my applications for the clearance that I needed before visiting Japan. There came a point when I just gave up and felt that I may not actually be able to go.

Then the first of the many ‘divine interventions’ happened. Jewel Samad, a brilliant photographer, who also heads the South Asia photo team at Agence France-Presse (AFP), guided me on many fronts. Whether it was the RT-PCR tests that needed to be done in a certain format mandated by the Japanese government or reassuring me when there was a delay in my immigration and games related clearances, he gave me much-needed hope, for which I am eternally indebted to him.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM BETTER PHOTOGRAPHYView All

A World Without Us

Ella Morton speaks to Nilofer Khan about the accelerating deterioration of the Northern landscapes, and how she uses analogue practices to depict her perspective.

10 mins read
Better Photography
September 2021

Sigma Launches its Latest Lens in the Sports Series

Sigma has revealed a new addition in its popular Sports lineup—the 150–600 f/5-6.3 DG DN OS lens for E and L-mounts.

1 min read
Better Photography
September 2021

THREE'S COMPANY

THREE LOCATIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY, THREE MASTERS OF PHOTOGRAPHY, ONE ESPECIAL THREE-POINTED STAR

3 mins read
Better Photography
September 2021

Mind Over Matter

Gurinder Osan speaks about his rigorous training and meticulous planning that went into capturing some of the most popular images at the Tokyo Olympics 2021.

7 mins read
Better Photography
September 2021

Fast, Compact and Wide

Shridhar Kunte reviews the Fujifilm XF 18mm f/1.4 R LM WR, the upgraded version of the XF 18mm f/2 pancake lens for Fujifilm X series cameras.

3 mins read
Better Photography
September 2021

Xiaomi Mi Mix 4

ONE OF THE BEST MOBILES IN THE MARKET.

1 min read
Better Photography
September 2021

Sony Xperia 10 III Lite

Enjoy more of what you want on the go with the Xperia 10 III.

1 min read
Better Photography
September 2021

The Unition of Man and Machine

One of the earliest proponents of child labour rights in the United States, Lewis Hine was an exemplary photographer who was one of the first to use photography as a documentary tool; he was single-handedly responsible for changing child labour laws in the country.

1 min read
Better Photography
September 2021

Tamron Unveils a Lens for the E and X-mounts

Tamron has announced its latest APS-C zoom lens for Sony and Fujifilm camera systems, the 18–300mm f/3.5–6.3 Di III-A VC VXD. The X-mount edition will be available later this year.

1 min read
Better Photography
September 2021

JUST LIKE YOU

THE MERCEDES-BENZ A-CLASS LIMOUSINE IS MORE THAN A TROPHY, IT’S A COMPANION

4 mins read
Better Photography
September 2021
RELATED STORIES

Camera Set

The iPhone 13’s leaps forward for photo & video

6 mins read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #520

Down to Their Last Dollar

Businesses fail every day, from world-beaters (like TWA and Lehman Brothers) to sexy high-fliers (DeLorean, Enron) to Steady Eddie, old-school icons (Toys “R” Us, Sears). Sometimes, of course, market conditions simply turn Sisyphean. But often, when that boulder starts to roll backward, a leader’s grit, imagination, resourcefulness, and ability to conjure a little luck can mean the difference between a brave new chapter and, well, Chapter 11. Here, four businesses that went from nearly bust to total gangbusters.

3 mins read
Inc.
October 2021

SPATIAL AUDIO RELATIONS

Ears-on with Apple Music’s new Atmos offerings

10+ mins read
Sound & Vision
October - November 2021

Logitech Ergo K860

This ergonomic “split” keyboard helps reduce wrist–strain

2 mins read
Mac Life
November 2021

Vissles V84 (2.0) Mechanical Keyboard

A Mac–friendly typing experience — and then some

2 mins read
Mac Life
November 2021

Steve Jobs

10 years without the genius behind apple

7 mins read
AppleMagazine
Ocotber 08, 2021

Unpatched Office attack reminds us: Don't click on risky docs

An attacker will have to convince you to click on the document as well as turn off Protected View.

2 mins read
PCWorld
October 2021

ONE-TOUCH TRAVEL COMPANIONS

THESE SMALL APPS CAN LEAD TO BIG ADVENTURES

10+ mins read
American Outdoor Guide
Fall 2021

iPad mini- Packing its punch in the palm of your hand

Although all eyes were on the Apple Watch Series 7 and iPhone 13 range at this year’s California Streaming event, the unexpected announcement of a refreshed iPad mini also got people talking. Bringing Apple’s smallest tablet in line with the iPad Pro and Air has helped to give consumers more choice, whilst a refreshed entry-level iPad remains a sensible buy.

7 mins read
AppleMagazine
October 01, 2021

The MIRACLE GAMES

The Games of the XXXII Olympiad were historic even before tennis star Naomi Osaka lit the flame in the cauldron with her relay torch to commence them.

9 mins read
Lens Magazine
September 2021