From Hurricane Sandy, One Year Later, Part II, one of 24 photos. An abandoned exercise bike sits in a sand dune near a home destroyed last year by Superstorm Sandy in Mantoloking, New Jersey, on October 27, 2013. Progress is visible in some areas along the beachfront while others remain badly damaged, days before the one year anniversary of the storm. (Reuters/Eric Thayer)
Mr. Thayer and Mr. Lott, both freelance news photographers, have been friends and competitors since 2007. They covered the presidential primaries in 2008 and 2012, hurricanes, fires, floods and the shootings in Newtown, Conn., working side by side, usually for different clients. Mr. Lott is based in Phoenix, Mr. Thayer in Brooklyn. They both work often for Reuters and The New York Times.
Photojournalists are naturally competitive. Their clients want the very best image from an event, but usually the photographers want it even more. Mr. Lott and Mr. Thayer may be close friends, but they still want the best image in any situation, with any camera.
“Whenever we work for different clients at the same assignment we’re always looking for a better picture,” Mr. Lott, 34, said during a phone interview from Detroit.
“We’re always trying to one up each other, in the friendliest way,” Mr. Thayer, 39, added. “But I still want to beat him.”
Mr. Lott visited New York City earlier this month and as he and Mr. Thayer hung out, they started photographing in the same places with their smartphones and posting images on Instagram. That same day, a friend of theirs, Pierce Wright at Getty Images, suggested they turn it into a face-off.
Over the course of two weeks they photographed together in New York and then went on a road trip to Chicago and Detroit. As they simultaneously posted photos, their friends and followers weighed in, commenting that this round went to “Team Thayer” or to “Team Lott.”