Offering a visual reprieve for the over-stimulated mind and an invitation to explore our senses, these images capitalize on negative space, clean lines and simplicity.
Here we silence the clamoring chaos of the world’s premier sporting event to find moments of stillness and grace amidst the chaos – and to experience the quiet restraint and epic force of its athletes, the Olympians.
Call it organized, whisper-quiet chaos. A line of athletes captured suspended-in-air at the start of the Women’s Triathlon produces an instinctive inhalation in the viewer. The use of monochrome helps distill the moment, transforming an action shot into a painterly composition.
A sole silhouetted gymnast warming up in a darkened hall brings the viewer nearly inside the quiet power and focus of the athlete. Practically quivering with color, the image is at once lean on elements and heavy on force.
An image this streamlined and strong creates an instantaneous emotional response in the viewer. One point of focus, linearly framed, ushers the eyes – and mind – directly into this powerful, victorious moment.
This action shot from Helsinki’s 1952 Olympics capitalizes on background context, foreground movement and narrative tension to create a momentary pause that captures the drama of world-class athleticism. The same elements still work today to slow down the action so we can take it all in.
This classic image from 1936 Berlin looks like visual poetry. It’s a story told succinctly and quietly – with major impact. You can almost hear the silence of the dive about to give way to the roar of the crowd.
Among the most theatrical of Olympic sports, fencing delivers the high emotion of hand-to-hand combat. Minimalist color and contrasting stances in this dramatic image create a classic, enduring portrait of the sport.
With repeat hurdles acting almost as an extended zoom lens, the viewer’s gaze is delivered purposefully and concisely to its subject. Frames within frames minimize external noise of this image and maximize both our focus and our feeling.
Long before they went for the gold, every Olympian was as an impassioned amateur. Here, a restrained field of vision and simple, bold lighting take us straight to this athlete’s emotional – and storied – love affair with the water.
Geometric shapes provide simple tools for elegant narration. A Triple Jump athlete caught in flight against a sphere of sky and encircled by pyramid lights creates an almost childlike story in its simplicity. The beauty speaks for itself.
See some of the quiet moments with major impact from Rio 2016:
Discover more quietly powerful moments from the Olympics at Getty Images and follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat for live Olympic updates