Sweden’s Football Photographers Part 2: Jonas Domfors helping to expand the game in Scandinavia

When the topic of the leading photographers of American football crops up in Sweden, Jonas Domfors’ name is always near or at the top of the list.

For the past decade, Domfors has been capturing the critical moments of games in Sweden with an impressive level of skill. As many can attest, watching a game and finding those key junctures takes patience and an understanding of football coupled with an eye for the tiny details and an awareness of the shifting nature of the play. These are traits that Jonas Domfors possesses in abundance and which he has applied for years.

Although he covers the game throughout the country, he works closely with the Örebro Black Knights joining them on road games to capture the action.

Micael Jönsson, head coach of the Örebro Black Knights:

“Jonas is very detailed oriented as a person and he likes high tech as well. He is a football fan. His unique skillset makes him a great photographer with the ability to catch the action. He usually takes roughly 10,000 pics per game and scrolls through these in steps to find the ones that truly capture the players in action. He is looking for the small details that catch the raw power, strength, speed, and explosiveness. He also finds and portrays the emotions shown both in victory and in defeat. His energy and effort to finally produce the 100-250 pics he chooses is amazing as it is an 8-10 hour process of selection, editing and presentation. We are so thankful and appreciative for the work and photos he presents every week, for both home and on away games. The pics are shared with opponents, federations and internally.”

In our continuing series about the photographers who diligently cover our game throughout Europe, we have arrived in Sweden. Last week we posted an interview with another Swede, Stefan Akander. Previously we have interviewed Germany’s Sarah PhilippFinland’s Jari Turunen, Italy’s Gioli BusiLola Morales from SpainDenmark’s Mikkel Bo Rasmussen and Michael Freitag also from Germany.

Photo: Johan Bornerud

AFI: How did you get into photography?

Domfors: By 2011, both of my sons were training Judo and being frustrated about not being able to capture the “right” timing of the action with sufficient quality. I evaluated one of my friend’s cameras and after that, my journey began after investing in an entry level camera with a lens that had good aperture.

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

Domfors: My youngest son began playing American football in 2013 at the age of 11, so it was a natural transition to continue with the photography on him and the team during their games.

Now I photograph as many Black Knights’ games as possible for both the senior and junior teams.

Örebro Black Knights WR Johannes Lindeus pulling away from Carlstad Crusaders defender, July 2, 2022.

AFI: Is photography your full-time job?

Domfors: No, this is a pure hobby of mine.

AFI: What is the part that you find the most satisfying about your ‘job’ as a photographer?

Domfors: For me, American football is the primary sport that I photograph but apart from that, I have tried photographing multiple other sports like boxing, swimming, basket, handball, and cheerleading. Obviously the challenges differ between the sports and you can always learn and improve yourself over time – in the end, progressing as a photographer, being able to capture the athletes in that “specific” moment is something that gives me a lot back.

Being a small sport, the biggest reward for me is when my pictures are re-used in media, visualizing the sport for people – specifically in Sweden where the sport is still small.

QB Trevor Vasey evading Tyresö Royal Crowns defenders, May 6, 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, angles for different situations. But for some plays, you tend to end up with favorite positions for capturing the action of specific plays.

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to shoot games alongside professional photographers which are excellent at capturing expressions at the sideline – I always review their work to see their approach and strategy of placement, aperture, composition and so on. I keep trying to develop myself and improve my skills of the multitude of opportunities that you have to capture parts of a game.

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

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

Domfors: A typical gameday at Behrn arena ordinarily start around 6-7 in the morning in order to paint the field, assemble the goal posts and preparing the arena. I have a weakness for coffee and we have a procedure where I bring some coffee from the local roastery for the prep team, makes a wrap up of the origin of the beans, any specifics in the procurement of it  – a nice way to start the gameday !

During the game, my focus is mainly on the photography and once the game is over, tidying up on the arena and support in the removal of paint on the field. We tend to end up around 21-22.
After that the sorting of pictures begins 😉

Photo: Johan Bornerud

AFI: Tell us about a couple of memorable experiences you have had photographing games.

Domfors: This is a hard question. In general, I tend to enjoy the evening games the most where you have the opportunity to use the arena light for enhancement of effects – Sweden vs Britain 2019 at Kristianstad arena was such game where the rain added to the enhancement of the photos. We have similar conditions at around -5 degrees with high moisture

Team Sweden vs Great Britain, November 2, 2019.

Another occasion in 2015, coach Walker from Kristianstad Predators brought the Swedish all-stars to a game in Florida, where the whole team was on the field, flagging in Tampa bay Buccaneers against Seattle Seahawks. Being on the field with 60K in the stands, photographing the team was a very specific experience.

AFI: How do you see the growth of American football in Sweden?

Domfors: During the years that I have been a part of the American football community in Sweden, we have had a fluctuation in the amount of players – despite a lot of efforts in showing the sport in schools, it tends to fluctuate a lot, depending on multiple factors but we tend to end up with players bringing friends that come and play together, and they leave together so, there is still a lot that can be done to increase the awareness of people about the sport.

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