Jonas Domfors helps to spread the game in Scandinavia

If the subject of the leading photographers of American Soccer shows up SwedenJonas Domfors’ name is always near or at the top of the list.

Over the last ten years, Domfors has captured the critical moments of games Sweden with an impressive skill. As many can attest, watching a game and finding those key moments takes patience and an understanding of football, coupled with an eye for the small details and an awareness of the changing nature of the game. Qualities that Jonas Domfors has in abundance and that he has been using for years.

Although he covers the game across the country, he works closely with the Örebro Black Knights Join them in street games to capture the action.

Micael Jonsson, head coach of the Black Knights of Orebro:

“Jonas is a very detail-oriented person and he also likes high-tech. He’s a football fan. His unique skills make him a great photographer with the ability to capture the action. He usually takes around 10,000 pictures per game and gradually scrolls through them to find the ones that really capture the players in action. He looks for the small details that capture the raw power, strength, speed and explosiveness. He also finds and portrays the emotions shown in both victory and defeat. His energy and dedication to finally produce the 100-250 images he selects is amazing as it is an 8-10 hour process of selection, editing and presentation. We are so thankful and grateful for the work and photos he presents at both home and away games each week. The images are shared with opponents, associations and internally.”

In our ongoing series about the photographers who are busy documenting our game throughout Europe, we have arrived Sweden. Last week we posted an interview with another Swede, Stefan Akander. Previously we interviewed Sarah Philipp from Germany, Jari Turunen from Finland, Gioli Busi from Italy, Lola Morales from Spain, Mikkel Bo Rasmussen from Denmark and Michael Freitag, also from Germany.

Photo: Johan Bornerud

AFI: How did you get into photography?

Domfors: In 2011, my two sons were training in judo and were frustrated at not being able to capture the “right” timing of the action in sufficient quality. I tested one of a friend’s cameras and after that, after investing in an entry-level camera with a good aperture lens, my journey began.

AFI: What drew you to American football and when did you start photographing the games?

Domfors: My youngest son started playing American Football in 2013 at the age of 11, so it was a natural transition to continue photographing him and the team during their games.

Now I shoot as many Black Knights games as I can for both the senior and junior teams.

Örebro Black Knights WR Johannes Lindeus retires from Carlstad Crusaders defender 2 July 2022.

AFI: Is photography your full-time job?

Domfors: No, that’s just a hobby of mine.

AFI: What is the part you find most satisfying about your “job” as a photographer?

Domfors: For me, American football is the sport that I primarily photograph, but apart from that I have tried to photograph several other sports such as boxing, swimming, basketball, handball and cheerleading. Obviously the challenges differ between sports and you can always learn and improve over time – in the end it gives me a lot in return to make progress as a photographer and to be able to capture the athletes in that ‘certain’ moment.

Being a small sport, the biggest reward for me is when my images are reused in the media to visualize the sport for people – especially in Sweden where the sport is still small.

QB Trevor Vasey dodges Tyreso Royal Crowns defenders, 6 May 2023.

AFI: Do you take a different approach when photographing American football games?

Domfors: In general, I try to challenge myself to use new positions and angles for different situations. But on some plays you tend to have favorite positions to capture the action of certain plays.

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to shoot games alongside professional photographers who are excellent at capturing expressions on the sidelines – I always review their work to see their approach and strategy in terms of placement, aperture, composition, etc see. I’m constantly trying to evolve and improve my skills in the variety of ways there are to capture parts of a game.

Orebro LB Eric Murphy knocks down a pass against Uppsala. August 26, 2020.

AFI: Tell us a little about a typical game day.

Domfors: A typical matchday at Arena Behrn usually begins between 6am and 7am to paint the field, mount the goalposts and prepare the arena. I have a weakness for coffee and we have a procedure where I bring in some coffee from the local roastery for the prep team, summarize where the beans come from, any specifics on sourcing – a nice way to start on matchday!

During the game my focus is mostly on photography and after the game cleaning up the arena and assisting in removing paint from the field. We tend to finish around 21-22.
After that, the sorting of the pictures begins 😉

Photo: Johan Bornerud

AFI: Tell us about some memorable experiences you’ve had shooting games.

Domfors: That is a difficult question. In general, I enjoy the evening games the most where you have the opportunity to use the arena lights to enhance the effects – Sweden v Great Britain 2019 at Kristianstad Arena was one such game where the rain helped enhance the photos. We have similar conditions at around -5 degrees with high humidity

Team Sweden vs Great Britain, 2nd November 2019.

Another time in 2015, Coach Walker out Kristianstad predators brought the Sweden All-Stars to a game in Florida, where the entire team took to the field and flagged down the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Seattle Seahawks. Being on the field with 60km in the grandstand and photographing the team was a very special experience.

AFI: How do you see American football growing in Sweden?

Domfors: Over the years that I’ve been part of the American football community in Sweden, we’ve had fluctuations in the number of players – despite great efforts to show the sport in schools, it varies wildly depending on several factors, but we Players tend to bring friends who come and play together, and they leave together, so there’s still work to be done to raise people’s awareness of the sport.


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