Before Gene Lower was photographing Super Bowls and concerts, and long before he became a Sony Artisan of Imagery and Stella Pro Lights Ambassador, he was a kid who dreamed of being a professional athlete. He played lacrosse, and the newspaper published so many pictures of him his friends teased he was paying someone. One of those photos boosted his status as a player and inspired his photography career.
“I started thinking about all the photos in my lacrosse career and how it would be fun to help create these moments for other people,” says Lower. “I still have that photo today.”
He’s been an Arizona Cardinals’ photographer for 20 years, and photographed the iconic image of Pat Tillman that was sculpted into the statue located in front of State Farm Stadium. One of Lower’s favorite images was published in Sports Illustrated and won Sports Photo of the Year. Titled God Plays Through, it is of a golfer in a storm with four lighting strikes in the background.
His sports experience as a youth poured into his life as an adult. He’s confident and knew he was good from day one.
“I always wanted to be the best. I wasn’t the strongest or the fastest, but I wanted to succeed. I worked nonstop on my game as an athlete. When you’re through improving, you’re through. I apply this to my photography. I still don’t think I’m the best, but in the moment, I believe I am. If I’m next to you, I’m getting the shot,” he says.
About a year ago, a dad asked Lower for tips to shoot his son’s games. Lower enjoyed teaching so much that he started offering classes.
He has lived in Chandler for 18 years and can often be found Downtown pointing out great places for senior photos or teaching moms how to take better photos of their kids.
“I like to help future photographers,” he explains. “My company is called Slingshot Photography. If you get hit with a rock or a pebble it stuns you for a second. I want people to walk by a photo and say, ‘Wow!’ It should move people. If it's really good, it will stop them in their tracks.”
Recently, Lower was inspired by events surrounding COVID-19 and social distancing. He started #truckstopinfrared, where photographs people in their driveways from his car window in infrared. Lower’s images include a drummer playing, a preacher, a referee, high school seniors, and an artist who created a three-dimensional chalk drawing of a bridge over water. His goal is to publish a book documenting this historical time.
“Everyone is missing something in their lives. I am! Everyone is looking at the world in a different light. The photos are reflecting our new vision,” says Lower. “I don’t consider myself a sports photographer but more of a historian. Infrared allows us to see light that is invisible to the human eye. My photos are a direct reflection of this new vision.”
Lower also enjoys hiking and capturing nature. He took his family to the Salt River.
“We were surrounded by wild horses. My thirteen-year-old son said this was the coolest thing he ever experienced. Those are the moments that I live for and the reason I do workshops and lessons. You have to do more. You have to inspire,” says Lower.
Lower posts learning opportunities on Meetup.com, Instagram @slingshotphoto and Facebook @slingshot. Direct messages are welcomed, and he’ll create workshops by request. Visit getmyshot.com.