So I just got home a few days ago from Atlanta, GA for the 2016 USAPL Raw Nationals. With over 1,200 lifters, the event last from Wednesday-Sunday. I knew I was going out there with a mission of shooting some De Novo athletes, but I also wanted to squeeze in a personal project while out there.
I've always wanted to take some portraits of some elite lifters in their environment. I've never seen it done before personally, and I think I discovered how difficult it may be.
Usually when I am photographing a person, theres a submission of time & focus between myself, and the subject. In this case, I knew that if I wanted to photograph these athletes, I would have very little time to do so (maybe 30 seconds), I would have to gauge a more convenient time to ask each person, and I would have to make it somewhat comfortable for them so it wouldn't throw off their game. With a few of these however, I got to catch a few lifters that may not have been competing on the day I was shooting so they ultimately had more availability.
Given this was my first attempt at doing such a project, I was pretty happy with the outcome, and it was cool to pay it back to the sport with having something to give as a gift to the elite. Remember, these are only a HANDFUL of the elite lifters that competed. They were people I either knew by association, or met that day and asked for a quick picture. There were many other people I wanted to photograph, so maybe next time this project may be priority to do so.
Some behind the scenes screen grabs of my portable and minimal setup. No backdrops, just white walls of the convention center.
Matt Gary & Suzanne Hartwig-Gary.
Adam Palmer of 9for9 Media.