Texture to the Story
Im going to try and make this a brief explanation.
I want my audience to be able to get an insight to a more intimate nature of Bodybuilding and I am doing this by spending a lot of time with my subject Ollie Beard, a man who has been in the bodybuilding community for over 25 years. A lot of what I have learnt from doing documentary work which involves spending time with people is that you have to understand how they work in order to get the best results and obviously, this will be different every time depending in who the subject is. With this instance I started off photographing Ollie in the gym ‘working out’ because I gathered this would be a good way to break the ice and it is less intense for him than other situations that I have in store for the project. The fact that he is occupied doing what he loves to do worked well in this respect.
Ollie and I both had different views on what my project was about at first. Ollie seemed to think it was about a before and after shot of his body for when he competes in August, which to a certain extent it is but I had this idea of intimacy and I wanted to start working my way slowly towards getting this desired outcome. After each shoot with Ollie I message him the kind of photos he wants of himself because a lot of them are of no value to me and I would keep the ones that I want that are of value to me for my artifacts. I do this kind of thing with many of my subjects because I think the collaboration is important and it helps the subject warm to me for my next shoot. People appreciate it.
I would gradually make things a bit more ‘uncomfortable’ for Ollie by asking him if I can do a portrait of him and then building my way up to getting back to his apartment to meet his kids and find out a little bit more about his personal life. This was all done within the space of the past couple of months since I was given the brief and I hope that you can see the extent of the depths I went to in order to build my work into strong and personal artifacts.