I've recently found myself being asked to do more and more fitness-oriented photoshoots. It's quite ironic, really, given my close-to-none interest in sport - I used to do yoga and pilates and now swim regularly but that's more to do with me turning 30 some time ago and desperately trying to rip my body from Mr. Gravity's persistent hands rather than any competitiveness or huge desire to be fit. Still, I found photographing athletes very interesting and quite different from the usual portraiture sessions. Apart from the technical aspects (lighting to emphasise the physique, etc) there's definitely more awareness of one's body and posture as well as confidence that come with a lifetime of training and making a living out of being fit. First fitness-oriented shoot I did was for the 2011 Ladies Handball Team Calendar but apart from the subject matter itself I wouldn't say these pictures could necessarily be classified as fitness ones. In terms of light and set up this was really a portraiture session which was meant to capture 13 beautiful girls who happened to be handball players. I wasn't trying to highlight how toned their bodies were or such. Things were different however, when the fantastic Neo Marketing send Stella Bartram my way. We had several meetings to discuss the concept and feel of the images she was looking for and after each of them I'd spend hours scratching my head, reading articles about fitness photography and considering cancellation (not necessarily in that order). Sometimes though, you just have to bite the bullet and that's what I did.
That first session with Stella Bartram happened a couple of years ago, we both enjoyed the experience, the images have been very well received and we have been talking about doing another photoshoot ever since. She's a very busy lady however (what with running her fitness empire, whipping celebrities into shape and promoting healthy lifestyle in general) and it wasn't until this February that both of us found the time to get some pictures taken. Rainbow Room International very kindly agreed to let us use their space as well as take care of Stella's hair for the 2 different looks we envisioned, I had my lighting assistant extraordinaire Laurabelle by my side and off we went.
We are already planning another session, something a bit more gritty perhaps. In the meantime though, I managed to catch Miss Bartram doing what she does best - training. I was asked to take some pictures of Stella's Metabolic Mayhem workout in aid of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research UK at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum in Glasgow. It was a beautiful albeit rather chilly early spring morning, people turned up in dozens and I got to witness firsthand why the Bartram brand is so successful:
I certainly know where to head once I start losing the battle with Mr. Gravity and some laps in the pool won't be enough to keep my butt from hitting the ground anymore!