Celebrating women’s sport through arts and culture, editorial director Alison Root gives insight into the creative identity behind the platform
Siblings Alison and Martin Root are the creative minds behind Glorious, a digital platform dedicated to elevating women’s sport through art, culture and photography. With 25 years of experience in media, Alison is the platform’s editorial director. Previously, she spent 10 years as the editor of Women & Golf, becoming the go-to voice on the women’s game for both television and radio. “We initially considered creating a magazine dedicated to one particular sport, but felt this was too narrow for the creative network we wanted to facilitate,” she explains of Glorious. “Instead, we set our sights on producing a platform, which then evolved into a community.”
Her brother Martin is the co-founder of Glorious. “Moving away from news, trends and gossip, we want to focus on personal stories from the everyday to the obscure, bringing feel-good inspiration to the sporting community,” he explains. Martin is also the creative director for Root, a London-based multidisciplinary design studio which shapes the platform’s visual direction.
The Glorious website launched in February, and there are plans to produce a coffee-table book, as well as a series of documentaries showcasing the inspirational stories the team has discovered. We speak to Alison about photography at Glorious.
Does Glorious have a distinct visual identity?
Part of Glorious was born out of hearing negative views on female sport versus men’s, and seeing female sport marketed much less. This pushed us on to spearhead a new aesthetic for women’s sport. We collaborated with illustrators, musicians and photographers – including Coco Capitán and Maria Svarbova – and designers Kelly Anna and Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi, to broaden what was on offer for female sport in the media.
What do you look for in the photographers you work with?
A blend of attitude, style and fun, plus a willingness to push the boundaries when shooting. Sport has been shot in a million different ways, so we’re all about discovering new ideas to capture that energy, motion and individuality. If the work complements the story being told, it doesn’t matter if you are emerging or established. We always look at portfolios based on the brief. If the photographer has knowledge of the subject matter or is a specialist in their field of work, such as skateboarding or surfing, this will help us decide. On the shoot, everybody has a common goal, and we work together to achieve it. When looking for photographers, social media is extremely important. We want to create fresh, original and inventive content, and are open to suggestions – the more creative, the better.
Is there a project that produced an unexpected result?
Photoshoots can be inspiring and challenging. Shooting a women’s polo team with Coco Capitán was definitely one of our favourites. We went into the shoot with preconceived ideas about the polo world, but left with an admiration for the sheer skill and athleticism of the women who are smashing stereotypes surrounding the game. We were also surprised to find how much joy a simple game of rounders can bring when we photographed and filmed the Batley Ninjas in West Yorkshire. Heiko Prigge captured it perfectly, making the viewer feel as if they were part of the team.
Isaac Huxtable joined the British Journal of Photography in October 2020, where he is currently the Editorial Assistant. Prior to this, he studied a BA in History of Art at the Courtauld Instititue of Art, London.