Team photographer Matt Aguirre shares his perspective from the sideline as he breaks down five of his favorite photos from the 2022 season.
Davante Adams' first touchdown as a Raider
I think this one made my top five because of all the buildup and anticipation that came with the moment. The Raiders' trade to land one of the best wide receivers in the league was a big highlight of the offseason, and after the moment passed, everyone – including our media team – was itching to see No. 17 score his first touchdown in the Silver and Black.
I distinctly remember spending a considerable amount more time shooting Davante during pregame — so much more that I was starting to feel like I was annoying him, but that's something you just get used to as a photographer. Fast forward to the fourth quarter and the Raiders were on the Chargers' three-yard line. Adams ran a simple flat route (something I'd seen him do in training camp and practice time and time again) and pulled off an acrobatic catch in fairly tight coverage. I remember that moment was when I fully grasped the idea that Davante Adams is a Las Vegas Raider.
Media Day 2022 with Nate Hobbs
I knew I had to include at least one photo from media day in this set. This past season's media day required the most preparation out of the four I've done previously, but was also the most creative and rewarding of them all. Our creative team's theme was Star Wars, with imagery inspired by the Death Star due to Allegiant Stadium's popular nickname. With that in mind, I incorporated lightsabers and the lighting pattern you see in the hallways of the Death Star on my set.
The biggest hurdle in getting this set built was manufacturing the cutouts to create the hallways. Thanks to Max Art Productions, a local print shop, they were able to create four, four-foot by eight-foot foam cores with laser cut patterns. The lightsabers were a fun prop to source as well. Not many people can say that they spent their workday researching where to buy the most realistic lightsabers for a photoshoot. We ended up going with ultrasabers.com, and they didn't disappoint — the players loved them. One of the most energetic players on this set was Nate Hobbs and that didn't surprise me in the slightest. The cornerback looks like he could double as a real-life Jedi in his spare time.
Amik Robertson's fumble return for a TD
This shot was taken from the catwalk in Allegiant Stadium. I shoot here for the first half of every game, and I love this spot for three reasons. One, no one else shoots from here, so I always know that no one else is getting the shots that I'm taking from up there. Two, I'm an introvert and because no one else is up there, I can shoot half the game without depleting my already small social battery. Reason three piggybacks off of the first: you get to see the game from a different angle. This shot demonstrates just how different it can be from the catwalk.
Amik Robertson's first forced fumble, fumble recovery and touchdown score all occurred in this one play, but of all the frames I snapped in the sequence, this one is by far my favorite because it demonstrates how all of the guys on the team – defense and offense – have each others backs. If you love this photo, make sure to check out the photo gallery I put together during the season titled “177 Feet Up," displaying the best images I take from the catwalk every home game.
Matthew Butler, Week 10 practice
Practices, especially the ones near the end of the regular season, can begin to feel monotonous for not only the players, but also the photographers and videographers covering them. Every now and then however, you get that one image that restores your love for shooting practices. This was that image for me this season – rookie defensive tackle Matthew Butler before stepping onto the field for a Friday practice in Week 10. I love this image because of the intensity and seriousness you can feel from its dramatic lighting and thus, the isolation it creates on Butler.
Chandler Jones' game-winning touchdown
When people talk to me about my job, they usually end up asking, "Who's your favorite player?" at one point or another because of how often I'm around the team to perform my job function. Now I can't say that I have one definitive player on the team that I can pick out as my "favorite," but there are many that I just vibe with because they're all-around down-to-earth, great guys. Chandler Jones is one of those guys. If I had to describe him in one word, it would be "approachable." He didn't see me as another team photographer, he just saw me as a person.
One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is seeing these players you've made solid connections with make huge, historic plays on the field. It's arguable that this is my favorite shot of the season not only because it captures the "Jones-on-Jones" stiff arm in its true strength, but because of what it means to me knowing Chandler Jones beyond the football field.