B_ is the daughter of a former student who has posed numerous times for portrait field trips - she is an excellent model, and really enjoying being photographed. At the most recent portrait field trip I hired her for, it was mentioned that she'd gone to the Gymnastic Provincials - at which point I asked how hard it was to photographer gymnastics competitions...and was surprised to hear that
photography isn't permitted.
Upon hearing this, I had to ask - would B_ be interested in doing some studio photographs of her routine? Since I started photography
, I have had a fascination with frozen movement, and have long wished to photograph dance in a studio...an gymnastics have many of the same elements found in dance - extreme motion, grace and beauty. So, about three weeks later, B_, her mother and I met at a studio, and began making a set of gymnastics images.
Working with B_ in the studio was awesome! It took me some time to work out the camera position (right at ground level) and angles (she jumped well above the limit of the 10' tall backdrop), but once that was set up, each time I saw a motion I wished to work with, B_ could repeat it exactly time and time again.
The other reason I asked about photographing B_ was it would give me another chance to explore the potential of motion blur. In 2015 I did some long explore images of dancers
, and was quite taken with the results, but as it was part of workshop I was assisting with, there wasn't any room to direct the dancers, or really push the idea in any direction.
With B_'s gymnastics routines, I could ask her to repeat the same motion again and again (with crazy consistency I might add). This went a long way to helping me better understand the potential of the process, and ultimately, decide it isn't a direction to head in. As much as I love the look, and feel it is really quite beautiful, it just doesn't have enough for me to want to invest in pursuing it to the logical conclusion...so thanks to B_, I long standing question has been answered!