Shooting the Paralympics: Getting 'In the Moment'
Mediacom commissioned Curious photographer Dan Humphreys to shoot for Paralympic partner, Allianz. We took some time out to quiz Dan on how it felt to photograph cyclist and swimmer, Jon-Allan Butterworth and Claire Cashmore.
Q> Tell us about the initial brief
DH> Once I’d digested the brief there were two main points which I felt really stood out. Firstly, they wanted it to feel 'in the moment’. That split second before they spring into action in pursuit of a medal. Secondly, disability was not the main focus. First and foremost, they are athletes. This is something that really appealed to me.
With both of these points in mind we decided to work towards a very intimate, powerful, tight crop of each athlete. I wanted to get into their personal space and feel like we are right there 'in that moment' sharing the intensity and experience with them.
Q> Were there any production challenges?
DH> The main challenges were working around both athletes gruelling training schedules and sourcing a studio that was close enough to both their training centres. As with most projects, we only had a limited time with each athlete so we needed to ensure the studio was ready for their arrival. Making sure we had set up all of the lighting before their arrival was important so that no time was wasted when they were with us. Staging was another consideration, particularly for Jon Allan. It was important that he balance on the bike but wasn’t moving, and that he felt comfortable and able to achieve the correct body position to make the shot feel authentic.
Q> How did you feel to be photographing Paralympians?
DH> It was an absolute privilege to be involved with such a great project, and a fantastic opportunity to not only photograph the athletes but also gleam an insight into the build up to the Paralympics, and the amount of preparation required to compete at the highest level. In fact they were both more than happy to indulge all of the crew’s curiosity, even to the extent of me spending about 15 minutes talking to Jon-Allan about whether his beard affected his aerodynamics and whether or not he was going to be keeping it for Rio 2016, we are pleased he did!