Postcards from Down Under

GW Alumnus Ben Solomon Serves as Official Tournament Photographer at Australian Open

Victoria Azarenka
Australian Open Women's Champion Victoria Azarenka © Ben Solomon/Tennis Australia

As the GW Hatchet senior photo editor, Ben Solomon, GWSB BBA ’08, spent his fair share of time covering minor disturbances around Foggy Bottom. But the post also provided Solomon the opportunity to cover major national and international news events.

“While I didn’t study photography in a classroom setting, Washington became my classroom,” Solomon recalls. “The constant buzz of a major city prepared me for most of what to expect in post collegiate life.”

After graduation, Solomon – who had frequently covered GW Colonials basketball – decided to pursue a career in photography and gravitated toward documenting sporting events.

In 2010, he became the official tournament photographer of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, and during the past three years the tournament has earned a special place in his heart.

2012 Australian Open Men's Final
Men's Finalists Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal © Ben Solomon/Tennis Australia

Though Solomon has covered the NY Giants and NY Jets for The New York Times, witnessed first-hand the excitement of NCAA March Madness, and managed photo logistics at the Whistler Sliding Centre during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, the exclusive, behind-the-scenes access he is afforded at the Australian Open is uncommon.

“By far the most exciting component of being the official photographer for the Australian Open is the carte blanche I have, both in terms of access and creativity,” says Solomon. “From on court action to behind the scenes, capturing the raw emotion that happens when a player comes off the court and sees their coach or family, or celebrates by dousing themselves (and sometimes me) with champagne in the locker room after winning. I am able to connect with and get to know everyone
that makes the Australian Open happen.”

Djokovic celebrates
Djokovic celebrates en route to the men's title © Ben Solomon/Tennis Australia

Among the amazing memories Solomon has from his time as Australian Open lead photographer are meeting Prince William with Roger Federer after the 2010 final and being in the midst of the post-match locker room celebrations of 2011 men’s winner Novak Djokovic.

But the epic, five-set, 2012 men’s final – the longest final in grand slam history – will be etched in his memory for some time.

“That match has to be the best match I will ever witness in person,” Solomon recounts. “I didn’t get back to my hotel room until 6 a.m., and after that was still wired on pure adrenaline after coming to grips with what I just saw.”

View more of Solomon’s photos from the Australian Open, including the men’s final and women’s final, at the Australian Open photo galleries web page.

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