Shot Master - Forty Years at the Pinnacle of Professional Tennis Photography
by Michael Cole
Ranked by the American magazine Tennis Week in 1994 as the World's No. 1 tennis photographer, Michael Cole has been at the pinnacle of his profession for 40 years.
The tributes paid by former players and colleagues are fulsome and fabulously flattering.
Michael's father owned a photographic shop in Beckenham, Kent so the groundings were there. This led to him becoming serious about photography, though he began his working life as a graphic artist. Arthur, Michael's father, was mad about tennis and combined his passions by photographing Wimbledon, commencing straight after the war.
From 1969 onwards, Cole covered Wimbledon and the other major tournaments, such as the US Open in New York, the French Open in Paris and the Stella Artois at Queen's. He travelled to Monaco, Portugal, Florida and Moscow to shoot the tennis stars in action, and often not in action. His speciality was the outré, the humorous and off-the-wall.
Tennis Week stated, 'While everyone else is focused on forehands and backhands, Cole will notice the caterpillar climbing up the net post, the humorous moment as a ball kid tries to catch a moth. The combination of creativity and quirkiness,' takes Michael's photography to another level.
One event was a particular favourite for him. He states 'The French Open lends itself so much to ambience pictures. The people there are so well dressed, there's women, hats and children... In fact, I had more non-tennis pictures in my files from the French Open than any other.'
In this book is a distillation of Michael Cole's brilliant tennis photography. For him the biggest challenge in creating this wonderful visual celebration of lawn tennis was deciding what to exclude. He has a passion and emotional attachment to every single one of his stunning photographs. One can see why.
- A fantastic collection of stunning tennis photographs
- All the leading tennis players of the last 40 years
- Beautifully designed, with top quality production values
- Some 160 pages packed with evocative images, including many of the sport's great characters
- In this book, there is elegance, passion, humour, action, atmosphere and style
About Michael Cole
Michael Cole studied at Beckenham Art School in the early 60s, followed by attendance at The Ravensbourne College of Art & Design. After starting work as a graphic artist, he became interested in photography in the late '60s and began to specialise in tennis.
From 1969, he would clock up 46 years' consecutive coverage of The Wimbledon Championships and The French Open at Roland Garros. He would shoot the U.S. Open in New York and the Miami Open at Key Biscayne for some 25 years including the '80s and '90s, together with other British and European tournaments in London, Estoril, Monte Carlo, Rome...
Now retired, all Cole's tennis images are owned by The Wimbledon Museum. His interests include general photography, ornithology and classic sports cars, especially his cherished Jaguar E-type. For 20 years he has covered the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Revival meeting.
‘There are very few photographers who can be called tennis aficionados. Michael Cole is as good as it gets. If you want to see a definitive tennis book in photos, this is it.’
‘The best sports photographers tell us a story through their imagery and Michael Cole is a masterful artist and storyteller. His tennis photos take us beyond the ball hitting the strings and involve us in the action on the court.’
Billie Jean King
‘To shoot a photo of a defining moment, without being in the least intrusive, Michael was one of those rare individuals who was always in the right place at the right time. His talent as a photographer is renowned, and this collection of the world’s most famous tennis players is the personification of artistry, passion and dedication that goes into great sporting history.’
Dimensions: 280mm x 240mm
Pages: 160 pages
Images: More than 300 photographs
Publisher: Porter Press International
Publication date: May 2023