Awesome or Awful: Joe Klamar’s US Olympic Team Portraits

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Joe Klamar, chief photographer of the Agence France Presse, has been getting a lot of flack on the Internet for the portraits of Team USA that he shot back in May at a media summit in Dallas. How dare he take this opportunity to capture our heroes and not bother straightening the American flag in the background? Why would he is a less-than-uber-professional lighting set-up on Michael Phelps’ storied torso? Well, haters gonna hate. Others believe that as a industry vet with some 20 years of experience, the Czech photographer made such “mistakes” deliberately, in order to be subversive. Klamar is currently exhibiting at the PowerHouse Arena Gallery in New York, whose press release highlights the photos’ “powerful and nuanced compositions and display of personality.” So, what’s the verdict? We like the realistic representation of these people, intended or not. “You will not see world-class athletes like this anywhere.” Clearly.

Alexander Massialas of the US Olympic Fencing team poses for pictures during a photo session during the 2012 Team USA Media Summit on May 13, 2012 in Dallas,Texas. (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty)

Michael Phelps of the US Olympic Swimming team poses for pictures during a photo session during the 2012 Team USA Media Summit on May 13, 2012 in Dallas,Texas. (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty)

Alex Meyer of the US Olympic Swimming team poses for pictures during a photo session during the 2012 Team USA Media Summit on May 13, 2012 in Dallas,Texas. (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty)

Heptathlonist Hyleas Fountain of the US Track and Field Olympic team poses for pictures during a photo session during the 2012 Team USA Media Summit on May 13, 2012 in Dallas,Texas. (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty)

Jonathan Horton of the US Olympic Gymnastics team poses for pictures during a photo session during the 2012 Team USA Media Summit on May 13, 2012 in Dallas,Texas. (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty)

Errol Spence of the US Olympic Boxing team poses for pictures during a photo session during the 2012 Team USA Media Summit on May 13, 2012 in Dallas,Texas. (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty)

Julie Zetlin of the US Olympic Gymnastics team poses for pictures during a photo session during the 2012 Team USA Media Summit on May 13, 2012 in Dallas,Texas. (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty)

Phil Dalhausser of the US Olympic Volleyball team poses for pictures during a photo session during the 2012 Team USA Media Summit on May 13, 2012 in Dallas,Texas. (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty)