Delly Carr is a much-loved member of the Australian Dolphins swim team, working as a photographer with the team for 15 years he has developed strong bonds with athletes and coaches alike, creating lasting friendships.
Carr would have been in Tokyo this week at his 10th Olympic Games, instead he has spent his time during the COVID pandemic archiving his collection of historical sporting pictures, scanning thousands of shots and also embarking on a creative project capturing stunning images of athletes who would have been competing at the Olympics this week.
Shot in June in Sydney as the first round of restrictions started to ease, Carr followed strict COVID-safe protocols in his studio. Shooting two athletes a day over several days, he pulled together his collection of 17 Olympic and Paralympic athletes from across a range of sports, including swimming’s Cate and Bronte Campbell, Ellie Cole, Timothy Hodge and Matt Wilson.
Carr said after his own initial personal disappointment his thoughts quickly turned to how the athletes would be feeling.
“I had been counting down to 2020 for so long, I was looking forward to my 10th Olympics and Swimming Australia had given me the lovely honour of being a part of their team staff during the staging camps, so I was gutted when I heard the news,” he said.
“Then I felt a little selfish knowing that the athletes would have been hurting a lot more than I would have been. I know I will probably have a chance of another Olympics but some of these athletes may not and that dream was taken away from them.”
The hauntingly beautiful images, shot through frosted glass, capture the athlete’s emotions to hearing the news that the Games had been
postponed, ranging from disillusionment, to anger and sadness.
“I shot through the frosted glass to represent the surreal and uncertain feelings that many athletes felt with the postponement of the games, with the drops of water representing tears,” said Carr.
“It is ironic that these shields are now a part of our everyday life, in stores and businesses around the country.
Carr said this is a moment in time in the sporting world that he wanted to capture realistically.
“Neither the athletes or I are above anyone else in society at the moment and I know sports people are strong and resilient, but I also wanted people to see that these are their goals and their dreams.
“These images are not meant to make people smile or say they are really cute – this is a point in time where their dream slipped away really quickly, and I wanted to be able to illustrate that,” he added.