'Shot of the Month' is brought to you by Sport Industry Awards partner Shutterstock. In this ongoing image-led series, we turn the spotlight on those behind the lens. Telling the story of the standout photos that grace newspapers, magazines and digital screens around the world from the photographer's point of view.
Javier Garcia, Shutterstock Sports Photographer
This year’s Six Nations was a fantastic watch. Although not England’s most successful tournament, it did bring numerous memorable moments. Whether fans were talking about Charlie Ewels’s 82 second red card, Eddie Jones's tactics or Maro Itoje’s monstrous tackles; it was definitely a tournament to be talked about.
Throughout my career, I have been inspired by imagery that can trigger an emotional response in the viewer. In sports photography, physicality and emotion can be very raw, and I love the challenge of capturing this. I have had a passion for photography since I was young, but I didn’t jump into it professionally until 1999 when I left my full-time position to go freelance. With nearly 25 years of experience in sports photography, my top tips to capturing the perfect rugby image is to come prepared with your planning and equipment, but to also expect the unexpected. Ahead of a match in large tournaments like the Six Nations, your position on the pitch or in the stand can be pre-selected, so don't get caught up in being in the "wrong" spot, and focus on making the most of where you are. Once you are in your spot, there are many options for image delivery which are dependent on numerous variables, such as the teams involved, editorial deadline, kick-off times, and weather conditions.
Ultimately, England disappointed as France deservedly took their first Grand Slam since 2010. They now prepare to host the Rugby Union World Cup on home soil in 2023.