The Gymnast as Art -- Enhanced (Digital Painting)
Though twenty-five years of photographing gymnasts, I have developed a sense of the "Art of Gymnastics." In fact, my business card bears that very tagline. Many people think that tagline refers to our work being the Art. The reality, though, is that the gymnast is the Art. Our job is to capture the Art she produces. I train all my photographers to look for "The Moments" -- the poses, jumps, leaps, kicks, etc. We strive to capture the moment of maximum extension or height. I have learned that every routine is different (even at the compulsory levels) because each gymnast has her own interpretation of the skills she performs. For some, their primary aptitude may be rhythm, and so she will flow right through her moves and poses. Others will have crisp, concise movements, punctuating each pose with a small pause as if to say, "Make sure you see this!" Some gymnasts emphasize their flexibility by exaggerating every extension. For others, strength is their defining talent. It is fun to watch as they slowly press to a handstand from a straddle. It is amazing as they fight gravity and come down in a very controlled manner.
It is from this point of view that I developed the Digital Painting series. There is so much in a gymnastics meet that distracts from viewing the gymnast's Art. People, chairs, coaches, other gymnasts, and decorations in the venue are all vying for the viewer's attention as they look at the image of your gymnast's special skill. We developed a painting technique (in our various editing software) where we mimic the color pallette of the original image and get rid of the "noisy" background elements. The seemingly random brush strokes of color are painted over the distracting background to allow the viewer to actually focus on the Art in the painting (your gymnast). After you approve the painting in our preview system, your image is printed to artist's canvas and shipped to you in a tube. You can take the canvas to an craft or framing store (like Hobby Lobby) and have them mount the canvas to foamcore and put it in one of their frames very economically. While it is not quite the same as a canvas on a strecher frame, it is significantly less expensive.
We can also completely finish the piece for you, but the shipping cost of a mounted and framed 16x20 canvas is around $75 (depending upon the carrier and the destination.)