About a month ago I was absolutely obsessed with the idea of photographing athletes. At first glance, an athlete's body in itself tells a story of hard work, determination, and persistence. I found inspiration in the beautiful photos that make up ESPN's Body Issue, and stumbled upon the work of Carlos Serrao. His still and motion portraits of athletes, dancers, and actors are innovative in the way he portrays them—always frozen in action. Clean backgrounds and soft colors contrast the toughness of athleticism, a perfect way to fuse fashion and sports photography to create one-of-a-kind dreamy cinematic images. He also creates short films like this that show motion in portraiture, which is especially fitting for athletes.
For my shoot, I wanted to create portraits similar to Serrao's Speedo series: simple black and white images that show off the athlete's body in a range of motion.
Thankfully I have friends willing to step out of their comfort zone to make my visions come true. Jordan, who's been swimming his whole life, agreed to flex and model for me. We reference endless Michael Phelps and Nathan Adrian photos (there is a surprisingly small number of formal portraits of such decorated athletes) and attempted to shoot some dramatic studio athlete portraits. I'm pretty happy with these images, but wished I had more space and resources to shoot Jordan jumping into the pool or actually swimming.
Thankfully every serious photo was accompanied by a laughing one. Thanks, Jordan, for making it fun and knowing how to cross your arms naturally like a normal person. Can't wait to see the calendar you make with these pictures.