Serious Triathlete Project

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Like every baby, my triathlete project has two parents.  One parent is my direct involvement with the triathlon community, not only as a photographer, but as an official and enthusiast who happens to be married to an Ironman (we don't call them Ironwomen or Ironpersons).  One of the outcomes of this involvement with the triathlon community is my self-published book, Swimming with the Sharks, which celebrates my wife's first Ironman. 

The other parent is a ten week course in advanced portraiture.  That course was largely academic, which is to say, it involved a lot of talk and not much shooting.  During that course we spent some time discussing style and the importance of a body of work.  We also spent some time discussing the salutory effect that images of interesting people can have on the public's interest in a portfolio.

During the course, I decided on the Triathlete Project, and through this project, I aim to build a collection which will be somewhat unique.  Triathletes are interesting; some are famous.  Triathletes will be the celebrities that I photograph. 

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I said to her, "I want a picture that emphasizes your strength and athleticism." I got it. 

These images will be different in every way from the images I make during training and competition, and because of the difference, they will add dimension to my growing portfolio of triathlon shots.

My first session was with Cynthia Wilson, a triathlete who races on the world stage.  She was a willing subject and, at that time, allowing a relatively inexperienced photographer to do the job.  The project will not be over until I photograph her again, as she has charming qualities which I overlooked because I was, perhaps, too focussed on capturing her athleticism and power.

Notice the road rash, a souvenir of a bike crash a few days before the shoot.  I should have had a shot of the crash...but that's a different story.

I have ended each shoot with some shots which I consider to be the dessert of the session.  They are fun, dramatic and so easy to do that it would be a shame to miss the opportunity.

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In the dessert portion, the athlete is on the bike, in full racing posture.  But this is not an action shot!  We use a training stand in the studio (or on location); the bike does not go anywhere.  With judicious use of Photoshop, we produce an action-laden image that is better than anything we would ever capture during a race.

The collection of portraits is a personal project and has no commercial intent. 

These images are intended for use in my portfolio and on my web site.  Some of the images will be used in my next self-published photobook, if and when it is ready.  The images could also appear in contests, exhibitions, or published collections along with the work of other photographers. 

The subjects who are photographed will received a CD with the images of their choice.  There will be a high-resolution version of each image, suitable for use in printing, and a low resolution version suitable for e-mail and web site use.

The subject is free to use the images in any non-commericial way.  Normally the images are used on Facebook or on their own web sites.  The images can also be given to the media.

Prints from the session can also be done.  If a quality print is desired, it is usually best to involve me in the ordering of it.

If you are scheduled for a shoot, remember that these are portrait sessions.  Clothes and hair should be portrait ready. 

Not all female triathletes wear make-up, but those who do, should be carefully made-up for the session. 

Triathletes should come to the session with their biking gear, including bicycle, shoes, helmet and water bottle.  If it's convenient, bring your bike training stand, as it is used for shots taken on the bike.

If the clothing for running is different, bring it also.

Plan on a couple of hours.

Posted March 30, 2011 at 12:51 am.