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I find it interesting shooting athletes — they tend to have a seriousness about them, seldom revealing too much about their personality. Instead of casual banter, or camera jitters, they stand erect, posture straight, patient and silent, ready to receive photographic direction.
I respect this stoic delivery and can see that, for them, their life as athletes is very much about the challenge of the game and self-discipline. This unique combination of confidence, discipline, reserve and strength is what I hope to define through the camera.
Tony Mitchell, the Mean Green's power forward, is one of those rising stars who exhibits all of these qualities. Knowing that I wanted to create a powerful image to match the 6-foot-8-inch, 220-pound presence of this student-athlete for the Fall 2012 issue of The North Texan, I scouted and completed a test shoot weeks before the assignment. UNT photographers Gary Payne and Michael Clements assisted me in composing a six-light set-up in one of the tunnels in the UNT Coliseum. Using raw strobe lights, we emphasized textures and Tony's muscle form and athletic grit while also creating dramatic shadows.
Later in post editing, I bumped up the tonal contrast to give the image even more punch. I always enjoy the challenge of carving out creative ways to represent an individual's strength and character by way of the lens and light.