My friends! It’s been a while, huh?
I just got back from traveling around north with some wonderful characters:
Julianne is one of my best friends from college who I met while in Florence (she baked me a pie and done! It was insta-love). Joining us from the south was my kickass girl Solen, architecture student and professional expat (Australian-Dutch-soon-to-be-American)-cum-Paris Roller Girl whom I met while working with the Amsterdam Derby Dames last year. My blogging absence is owed to cramming ourselves into three-too-many sleeper buses, me being hooked up to a saline drip for a day too long and us embarking on a camel trek for not quite long enough.
But more on that later!
We’re switching gears a bit away from the rugby thing today. It’s confession time.
I have a dirty little secret to share:
I really, really, really dislike sports photography.
I know it may be a bit weird considering my project is all about photo documenting women’s rugby.
But! I’ll explain:
The sports photos in newspapers don’t really do it for me. Snooze. I don’t particularly like taking them either (I’d rather be playing, wouldn’t you??). When it comes to photos, I’m eager to hear the back story — the who, the what, the when, the where, the how — but it’s so hard to capture this human element when you’re on the sidelines and so far removed from your subject. As a sideline sports photog you can’t be involved (um, I don’t want to be obliterated by an All Black, thank you). The job often isn’t personal. That great distance of photographer-subject is the total antithesis of what I’ve always learned and loved about wielding a camera.
I love portraits.
I often look to Steve McCurry, whose work is frequently featured in National Geographic, for inspiration in my work. He’s extraordinary at what he does. The portraiture McCurry is often a unique blend of gritty and ethereal; his style so real it almost feels surreal. His work situates you in a conversation with his subjects; you can almost feel the personal narrative within the frames. That, I love.
That blend of attitude and outlook — the aversion to sport action shots and craving for the personal — has made working on this project so interesting. I love when I find sport sections clippings on my rugby friends’ bedroom bulletin boards or headlines about the girls online. The reporters and photographers who compiled the piece got part of the story — the names, ages, the grins, conversion kicks, etc. — and my job is to get the other half…that back story — the personal details behind the action. I totally love it.
And, when not on the rugby beat, I dig around and still try to channel that same McCurry-esque approach I take to my sport shots.
Some days I rue being a woman in India (and trust me, I’ve compiled an appropriately vulgar vocabulary to match, hem) — especially of the blonde and caucasian variety — but it has a silver lining. It gives me a pass with my camera. In a culture where women are favored to be docile, the aim of my lens is less threatening (and by nature of my physicality I’m usually looked at with lots of curiosity/hair petting which ends me up at weddings or with bottomless cups of tea and chats). It gives me access to subjects I may otherwise not be as excited about me getting up close and personal.
Over the past few months I’ve collected some favorite faces:
[click to enlarge]
No rugby shots to see here on the ole’ blog today, but I hope you enjoy these ones just as much!