ESPN The Magazine's 2012 Body Issue will hit newsstands Friday, but photos have already hit the Internet. While this year's issue may not have the star power of the 2011 edition, the photography this time around makes it special and probably more noteworthy.
ESPN always has phenomenal people working in the photography department, but this year's Body Issue is something completely set apart from past editions.
It features far more action shots, catching athletes in the middle of what they do best. After all, the idea isn't just to see the bodies of the athletes, it is to see how they use the muscles they have built up in the sport they play.
A shot of big wave surfer Maya Gabeira is not only a beautiful use of color and light but also shows her in her element in the midst of turbulent water. A black and white shot of gymnast Danell Leyva also uses the same concept.
This year's issue also does an outstanding job using black and white shots to create contrast, emphasize it and create new ways of viewing the athletes. Anna Tunnicliffe of the U.S. sailing team is the subject of a great action shot that highlights the benefit of using black and white when capturing sports.
Then again, Tunnicliffe is also in an incredible color action shot that shows why color can be equally important in sports photos.
While some will obviously pick up the issue just to see athletes baring their bodies, the photography used by ESPN's camerapeople makes this year's Body Issue the best so far.
Full version of headline photo can be seen on ESPN.com, here.