This week I welcomed 2014 with a much thought of and overdue location shoot of a very special and talented sportswoman. Julia is a rising star in triathlete circles and perhaps more importantly she is a bright, friendly, outgoing young lady with the dedication and determination of sporting champions. At the tender age of 16 Julia's training regime is incomprehensible to the average person much less the average teenager.
I have known Julia since the days of competitive swimming, when she and my daughter Isabella were close friends and shared lap upon lap of the black line at the bottom of Carss Park Pool. Julia has since branched out into triathlons and my daughter turned her hand to waterpolo. I have wanted to photograph Julia for no other reason than to try and create a sporting portrait worthy of both her sporting achievements and the lovely young person that she is.
With a week to spare between christmas and a family holiday I was lucky to secure some of Julia's time this week. I had a number of visuals bouncing around in my head and with the glorious summer weather Sydney had been enjoying I decided to head out into the elements. Kurnel is Julia's standard bike training route, it's coastal offering is not only interesting and geographically easy to access but also a relevant landmark to Julia and her sport.
Location shoots are always at the mercy of mother nature. At a moments notice she can turn your well thought out plans and intentions completely on their head. This shoot was no different. Overnight our wonderful Sydney summer dissolved into windy, storm clouds that threatened rain at any moment. The stormy clouds were fabulous, definitely wanted to keep those. The wind and potential for rain on the other hand was one of mother nature's challenges. Fortunately my daughter Isabella agreed to help me out on the shoot and with that became a human sand bag on the beauty dish clad Einstein strobe.
Undeterred, we maintained course and had a great time. Julia literally finished her afternoon training session and drove straight out to Kurnel with me for the shoot. It's this kind of spirit that makes this girl special.
We were on location for about an hour an a half, not a great deal of time when you include pulling gear out and setting up. With those storm clouds looming and threatening rain I worked fast, compromising on pre-thought out lighting schema's and shots. Amongst the haste of it all, I came to realise this element of unknown is the real thrill of location shooting. Having to work with what you have, pulling all the pieces of the puzzle in front of you into hopefully, a captivating image that the person you're photographing will be happy with.
That to me is critical. First and foremost I want the person who has placed their trust in me, to love their images. I on the other hand, remain a tortured creative in that regard perpetually finding that element of unease or after thought in composition, gesture, lighting etc that could of made the image that much stronger.
Forever a work in progress.