Despite having a target on their backs for being No. 1 since the preseason polls, Alabama’s Crimson Tide boasts an impressive overall record of 10-0, and 7-0 in the SEC (Southeastern Conference) play. The Bama players have endured a grueling off season of training, and continue to roll through their opponents with great force.
Men’s Health Magazine is an industry leader in keeping readers up to date on today’s trending fitness, nutrition, and athletic stories. When they decided to do a piece on the Alabama college football team, they reached out to Brooklyn-based photographer Giacomo Fortunato.
Consistently at the top of the SEC, Alabama brings a loyal fan kingdom and southern dominance to any NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) division team. There was intense pressure in photographing such a big-name team, but Giacomo was eager to take on the challenge and shoot the 8 page feature for Men’s Health. Although Giacomo had never shot professional or college football, he was ecstatic to make waves with the Crimson Tide, and catch his first pass into the world of football.
The feature, titled “The Bama Muscle Factory,” was about the Crimson Tide’s strength and conditioning program, run by strength coach Scott Cochran. Scott has been with the team since 2007, and the Crimson Tide has won four national titles in seven years under his conditioning. He shapes his players into explosive and tenacious individuals that form disciplined units. This story about their practice regimen detailed how he pushes his players to greatness.
Giacomo faced two main challenges on this shoot, which parallel two major challenges the team faces daily: Alabama heat and humidity, and tight schedules for the collegiate athletes. His first step to combat this was figuring out strategic setups that he and his assistant could leave in place to avoid having to move around large amounts of equipment in the heat. After that, they turned their focus to the players, being persistent in capturing every shot that was shot planned, while simultaneously being respectful of the tight time restrictions the team had.
Time was limited with certain players and certain things happened very quickly. If you missed the shot, you missed the shot. There’s no way you could tap on a player’s shoulder and ask him to pick up a several hundred-pound weight again, because you weren’t ready.
Giacomo successfully completed the series in the few days he was in Alabama and was excited to have it featured in the November 2016 issue of the magazine. He always feels fortunate to shoot for Men’s Health and work with their thoughtful and positive team of creatives. He also enjoyed learning about the Crimson Tide team’s culture and dedication.
Seeing firsthand all that goes into this well-oiled machine that churns out champions and future NFL stars was a pretty amazing experience. Being on the field and in the weight room with these remarkable athletes, as they pushed their bodies to the limit, was incredible to witness.