Your guide to… Victory Journal #13, by editor Chris Isenberg

by Grace Wang in August 2017

There’s a reason why Victory Journal is so imposingly big — the photography in this magazine is one of the most brutal, immediate and impactful we’ve seen. Flipping through its full-bleed pages, you’ll be transported to sports of every variety; from ice hockey and football, to archery and even a checkers tournament, their latest issue will surprise, thrill and absorb you.

Read on for editor-in-chief Chris Isenberg’s selection of six brilliant photographs from the issue…


1. Target Practice — Jared Ryder
The first Victory cover that could also be a cover of Fangoria! The images are from a protection dog competition. It’s one of those worlds that I had no idea existed and Jared Ryder did an incredible job getting access to the universe and capturing it. There are the dogs, the handlers and ‘the decoys’, who the dogs practice attacking or disarming and have to wear serious protective gear. Two of the shots in this story were in the final running for the cover and the weirdest one won.


2. Iron Cross — Jessica Frankl
We don’t usually encourage tagbombing on Instagram, but that’s how we met Jessica Frankl. Her feed was filled with incredible images of men’s gymnastics, which we had never covered. And when we spoke to her it was clear that she was engaged with the sport on much more than a parachute-in-and-get-event-photos level. She had assigned herself a project to visit five university campuses and teams during the preseason, and in addition to capturing the athleticism and team dynamic in an under-appreciated sport, there is the intimacy of her presence, someone very near in age to the gymnasts watching her watching them.


3. Double Jump — Joseph Swide
Joe Swide is a double threat — very strong writer and photographer. He went to Branson, Missouri, the Bible Belt Vegas, to shoot the top-ranked checkers players in the world who compete for a total purse of $20,000. Love the tight portraits and from their expressions there are millions on the line. Something about this story reminded me of Hands on a Hardbody which is one of my favourite documentaries of all time.


4. Aim High — Karan Kumar Sachdev
I was previously aware that archery is the national sport of Bhutan, but had no idea of the swag factor — sunglasses in one hand, wood longbow with custom taping the other. New Balances picking up the turquoise from the targets? Yes!


5. Winged Lions — Alessandro Simonetti
This is Ale’s fifth story in Victory I believe, including the special edition we did with him on the Seed Academy. He’s killed all of them. Venezia FC and their climb back towards Seria A was the subject of the story, but this image of the rival fans from Podova with their flags and flares stole the day.


6. Cold Hearted — Alana Paterson
Amazing shot by Alana Paterson, another new photographer to Victory, and part of an excellent series on women’s Ice Hockey. This shot was very nearly the cover, her combination of determination and beauty is very arresting. When it came down to it, out of the context of the story, some people felt the on-camera flash had Terry Richardson echoes that made them uncomfortable. It’s also a summer issue. Was one of the most intense cover debates we’ve had — think we made the right choice but this is one of my favourite shots in the book.


7. Stadium Club — Mark Mulroney

Our illustration editor Alelli Tanghal put us up on Mulroney. He had a show in San Francisco focused on baseball which is my first love. These hand-painted cards were incredible and it was hard to pick just one for the magazine, which is why they appear as a whole grid. What we didn’t know is the backstory of his relationship to baseball and collecting — he was basically an autograph gangster and forger as a teenager in California — and I found out that he could write. “George Bell told me to get lost. Kirk Gibson told me to go fuck myself.” My favourite lede in any Victory story ever… Very worthy of a read.


8. Harry Edwards — Jai Lennard

We do a collection/object story every issue, but this one broke the frame and became a profile into a collection. The subject, Harry Edwards, is someone who looms so large in our pantheon because of his whole career working with athletes to advance social justice, from Tommy Smith and John Carlos in ’68 to Colin Kaepernick in 2016. It can be intimidating to capture someone like Mr. Edwards because you want it to live up to the standard he himself sets, and I think Jai accomplished it. I love this image, I hope Mr. Edwards does too.

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