“Behind the Cups,” is a new series where we sit down one-on-one with people from club land for an in-depth conversation discussing their rugby journey. Behind every cup are the unsung heroes that help build upon the legacy of our game.
What started as just taking pictures of her partner’s rugby games soon turned into an unimaginable journey in sports photography. Jaye Grieshaber creator behind Jayzie Photography has built a career in capturing moments of rugby history across ACT club land.
Jaye is the official team photographer for the Gungahlin Eagles, volunteers throughout the local region as well as photographing Brumbies and Brumbies Super W teams.
Welcome Jaye, it’s lovely to be able to meet with you today and to talk about your career in Sports Photography. Can you share with me how it began and what you are currently involved in.
I have always had a passion for photography however my journey in sports photography started back in 2015 when I decided to bring my first camera along to my partner Nick’s first game playing for the Gungahlin Eagles 4th Grade Team. I covered that game and as the weekends went on, I found myself covering all grades for the Eagles. Now after seven years being affiliated with the Gungahlin Eagles Rugby Union Club, I’m their official photographer which has led to being provided the opportunity to be sideline capturing the action at the Brumbies and Super W home games.
To be honest, I was never much of a rugby fan before moving to Canberra. It wasn’t until I met Nick and his love of watching and playing the game that drew me to it.
Now rugby is my life and such a family event for us, with my youngest daughter Shanina even playing rugby for Daramalan under 14’s. Through my journey, I have tried to give as much back to the sport as I can, through various avenues including player and team sponsorships. I have a strong connection to building women’s rugby in Canberra, this year I have sponsored the Daramalan Girls rugby program, to assist in the development of young women in rugby.
When you first agreed to be a photographer for the teams did you think it would become such a big part of your life?
No, I really didn’t. I had an interesting experience at Bunnings in Gungahlin the other day where I was walking through wearing an Eagles jumper and this guy stops me and says, “Oh no way, you’re Jayzie Photography, I follow you on Facebook!” Other times I’ve gone to sign up for something and people have stopped me and said, “You don’t need to, I know who you are.” I’m always shocked by these complete strangers who recognise me. I had no idea that my work would have such a following.
The opportunities that I have been given and experienced since I started has been amazing. People will have moments that they can look back on for years and years to come.
With opportunities opening in various areas of the sporting industry. Did you have a photography background prior to becoming the official team photographer for the Gungahlin Eagles?
I had no experience at all. I had this old camera at home, picked it up and just thought I’ll go out and take some photos. I went from taking photos of 4thgrade to covering all grades, to then putting my photos on their social media account. My partner suggested I start my business and it’s just built from there. Following that I got involved with Brumbies after someone noticed my photographs and suggested I reach out to their media team. Now I’ve been photographing Brumbies for four seasons and helping where I can.
I’ve had no formal training in photography, what you see is what I’ve taught myself. I keep up to date by watching tutorials on YouTube or when I’m around other photographers I’ll ask questions and pick up tips. From that I thought I’d try family portraits and weddings.
You’ve been a sports photographer for the past seven years. Where do you see yourself going in the future, especially in our local community?
I am very passionate about giving back especially within the girl’s rugby program in our local community. I am really trying to showcase women in sport and with that I am truly grateful to be able to photograph the Super W team and cover some of their matches.
Ideally, I’d love the opportunity to photograph for our international teams from Rugby Sevens to Super W. The pinnacle is to be able to photograph the Wallabies and Wallaroos, I’m not there yet but that is the achievement I amworking towards and hopefully doors will open for me to be able to do it. My dream would to be able to work with Rugby Australia. We live by the saying in my household, “Never say Never”; “it’s about time, when it’s the right time it’ll happen.”
You’re on the right path to be able to achieve that goal.
Fingers crossed! I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and keep building my skills. Sports photography is my thing. I don’t want to give it up anytime soon. One of the old boys during Gungahlin Eagles “Old Boys – Heritage Round” made a joke to my partner Nick, when asking how long I’ll be the Eagles official photographer; Nick’s response was ‘she’ll be on a little scooter when she’s old and grey.’ I think he’s right I am going to stick at it.
My daughter who has a huge interest and passion for playing rugby has seen me working with the Super W players and says one day she hopes to be a Brumby and that I’ll be taking her photo.
What advice would you give to someone else who wants to give sports photography a try?
I’d say grab a camera and try to find a mentor or someone who can support you in your goals. There’s so many tutorials or different photography methods you can try, just give it a go. You don’t need qualifications to try something new. It's about working hard, never give up on your dreams and stay true to your craft. But most importantly, always remain grateful as opportunities do come and go.
It’s amazing how much a person can grow form the unexpected. As you mentioned having someone to support you in your goals. Who are your supporters along your journey?
My partner Nick has been and continues to be my biggest supporter. My girls are always encouraging me and cheering me on too. My family sees more of my abilities then I do sometimes. Gungahlin Eagles have been amazing, taking a chance on me and I can’t thank the club enough. They’ve been so supportive the whole way, trusting in me in capturing history for the club. I am truly grateful for it’s not just a club I am affiliated with but a family. The whole Brumbies community have been so supportive of me too from the CEO, the Media Team, as well as Community teams and local community volunteers and with that I just want to say a big thank you
As we’ve been talking and sharing about marking a time in history through photos, I’ve been looking over some of them and found photos you’ve taken of me from my time playing rugby. It struck me seeing parts of my life through your lens. I’m sitting here remembering this game, the score, how my team went, and the fun I had. I’m grateful you were there to capture it.
It's an honour! When I photographed during Gungahlin’s Old Boys - Heritage Round Day some of the old boys asked, “Where were you during my day?” They wished they had someone there capturing their time playing. Photography will evolve as the world goes on but for me, nothing is more rewarding than capturing those magical moments for people which brings ever lasting memories and joy into their lives. My photography captures a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone..I simply love what I do.
It's an amazing opportunity and incredible journey It’s not just Gungahlin now it’s all the clubs across Bentspoke John I Dent, Bentspoke Premier 15s and Juniors. I love being able to give back to the community.
It’s been a pleasure to talk with you Jaye and hear your story before we wrap up, are you ready for a round of fast questions?
Yes, let’s do it!
What was the last song you listened to?
Bad Habits by Ed Sheeran.
Who was the first person you texted this morning?
What is the most used app on your phone?
Who would you say is your hometown hero?
What is your go to snack on game day?
A sausage sandwich, whatever Nick brings me when I’m running around on the sidelines.
What are your top 3 favourite movies?
I love Top Gun, Dirty Dancing and Star Wars. I love everything Star Wars! The new Top Gun sequel is brilliant!
Final question, what is your favourite rugby memory?
I have so many good memories, I’ll say watching my daughter Shanina get her first try when she was playing under 8s for the Eagles was so cool. I was the loudest parent cheering on the sideline.
Thank you again Jaye for sharing your journey and supporting our local community!