The AFP photographer who's been catching flak for taking bad pictures of Olympians -- pictures so awful they've been called "anti-establishment," "amateurish," and "some sort of sick and twisted joke" -- says he didn't take bad pictures intentionally. He was simply unprepared.
Like, really unprepared.
As photographer Joe Klamar told the AFP:
"I was under the impression that I was going to be photographing athletes on a stage or during a press conference where I would take their headshots for our archives," he explained. "I really had no idea that there would be a possibility for setting up a studio."
Klamar's shots have gone viral and received heaps of vitriol. Online commenters have speculated that he intentionally tried to make American Olympic athletes "look like clowns."
The real story is this was the first time the AFP had been invited to the U.S. Olympic Committee's Media Summit, held this year in Dallas. Klamar thought he'd just be taking headshots, so he showed up with only two cameras, three lenses, one flash, and a laptop.
He was shocked to discover that other photographers had set up real studios, complete with professional lights, props, assistants, and backdrops. "It was very embarrassing to find out that I wouldn't be able to take advantage of a studio," Klamar said.
A kind USOC media officer persuaded another photographer to share his booth space with Klamar. They worked side by side and worked out a system. Klamar did his best, but the other photographer "of course had the priority," he said.
Well, let's hope our Olympians arrive in London a bit more prepared than Klamar.
Other popular Olympic content on Yahoo! Sports:
• Breaking down the Team USA basketball roster player-by-player
• Martin Rogers: Megan Rapinoe opens up about her homosexuality
• Elite Athlete Workouts video: Aly Raisman emerges from the shadow of gymnast Alicia Sacramone