Picture sitting down with Iqbal Munir, a sports photography maestro, for an engaging chat that’s not just an interview but a journey through time. We delve into his photography journey, from the past to the present, discussing cameras and reliving memorable sports moments. Iqbal Munir is renowned for his exceptional talent in capturing thrilling athletic feats. His dedication and hard work resonate in his captivating sports photography, immersing viewers in the excitement of the moment. Beyond mere images, Iqbal’s work conveys emotions, effectively narrating the story of each frame. In this conversation, we uncover the secrets behind his mastery, the challenges he’s surmounted, and the unique techniques that make his photography outstanding.
Synergyzer: Can you share your initial impressions and feelings when you were chosen as the official photographer for the 1992 World Cup?
Iqbal Munir: I was overjoyed! Although the 1992 World Cup wasn’t my first time as the official photographer for the Pakistan cricket team – I had the same role in 1987 and the Reliance World Cup before that – it held a special place. It marked the second step in my journey, with the third being the 1996 World Cup. However, 1992 is the most significant because we emerged victorious. Despite subsequent opportunities, we couldn’t replicate that success. For me, the 1992 World Cup was the pinnacle of my career. The sheer delight and thrill of being part of it remain unparalleled. Even today, I can vividly recall every moment from those 45 days – the team, the players, and the photography I captured. It was a truly unforgettable experience.
Synergyzer: Could you recount a specific moment or interaction with a player that stands out to you as particularly memorable during the World Cup?
Iqbal Munir: Amidst numerous challenges, doubts, and distractions, our journey in the World Cup seemed uncertain. The team lacked momentum, and it appeared that the goal of winning the tournament was slipping away. However, Javed Miandad emerged as the driving force, tirelessly reminding us of the World Cup’s significance and the need for hard work and strategies. Apart from Miandad, there seemed to be a lack of such motivation among the players. At one point, with only three matches left, some were discussing the upcoming England tour instead of focusing on winning the World Cup. However, a pivotal moment occurred in Perth when we faced Sri Lanka and Australia. During a team meeting, we poured our hearts out and committed to winning. From that point onwards, we became unstoppable, and the rest is history.
Synergyzer: What led you to decide to create a book with your World Cup photographs? Could you share some insights into the process of compiling the book “Pakistan: World Champions”?
Iqbal Munir: I had conceived the idea for the book even before the World Cup began. While the team had left for the camp in Lahore a week earlier, I arrived just three days prior to the tournament’s start. I had a book in mind but was uncertain about its content and execution. However, I was determined to cover every event, moment, and match. Thankfully, I was granted that opportunity.
Synergyzer: With your extensive experience, could you share some tips for aspiring sports photographers who want to capture the essence of the game beyond the surface?
Iqbal Munir: Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of speaking as an educator in mass communication and photography at various places. However, the landscape has dramatically transformed with the advent of digital technology. Today, even a good mobile phone can turn you into a photographer. In Pakistan, many people have embraced photography, but a sense of cricket photography, capturing the essence of the game and its unique moments, seems to be lacking among newer enthusiasts.
Back in the day, despite limited equipment and technology, we meticulously planned our shots during cricket matches. We thought about what to capture and how to capture it, despite having to wait days for the results. Nowadays, it’s all about instant gratification. Many photographers simply click away without considering the action or the best angle. They have an abundance of shots and hope to stumble upon something good. Sadly, they often don’t want to learn or understand the art of deliberate cricket photography, preferring quantity over quality.
Synergyzer: Difference between local sports photographers vs international sports photographers
Iqbal Munir: In Pakistan, sports photography faces challenges. Local media photographers, though skilled, lack resources and often cover various events, including politics. The private sector shows little interest due to limited financial incentives, and there’s a lack of dedicated educational institutes. Foreign media prioritizes politics or readily available images. Consequently, private sector involvement is minimal, with enthusiasts pursuing sports photography as a hobby or within photo societies. The field struggles to grow, leading many to leave in search of better opportunities.