Baltimore Ravens photographer Shawn Hubbard won a first-place award in the prestigious Pro Football Hall of Fame 51st Annual Photo Contest for capturing a riveting image of quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Hubbard's photo, "Lamar Looks Ready," won first place in the feature category. The photo perfectly framed Jackson's intense expression as he was seated on the bench, prior to the opening kickoff of Baltimore's playoff game against the Los Angeles Chargers. The 22-year-old Jackson was about to become the youngest quarterback ever to start an NFL playoff game.
On his website, Hubbard writes about anticipating the moments that produce great photos. This was a prime example.
"It was a little cold out, he had that jacket on, and I knew this was going to be a big game for him," Hubbard said. "Before the game I like to hang out in the bench area. Guys are focusing on what they're doing, emotions are running high. I just saw him there. I was like, 'Man, I have to capture that.' He kind of locked eyes with the camera, and I think that's what sets that image apart."
Hubbard won honorable mention for his photograph, "New Starter in the Spotlight," which captured Jackson sitting in front of his locker in uniform. The photograph was taken at halftime during Jackson's first NFL start, Nov. 18 last season against the Cincinnati Bengals.
"He was one of the earliest guys coming into the locker room at halftime," Hubbard said. "So he's kind of sitting there by himself. I dropped down to a knee and snapped it. That look of determination on his face is what makes it powerful."
The Ravens won that game, and Jackson became the catalyst for their 6-1 late-season run that propelled them to the AFC North championship.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Photo Contest was open to all professional photographers on assignment to cover games during the 2018 season, including Super Bowl LIII and the 2019 Pro Bowl. Hubbard was told this is the first time two photos of the same player, taken by the same photographer, have placed in the contest.
"Lamar was a big story, even outside of Baltimore," Hubbard said. "It was his first year, he's young, and I think that creates a bit of a buzz."