With a passion for all things sports, it was natural for Wonderful Machine lifestyle photographer Ryan Nicholson to make ways to add more sports photography to his portfolio. He loves the environment on these shoots, having played basketball in college. Ryan has a true grasp on the culture and aesthetic of athletics today, and the results have been bountiful with shoots of Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs, and assignments coming in from SLAM magazine.
He recently reconnected with celebrity fitness guru Tony Temple to produce a series of photos that could not only grow their respective brands, but push the boundaries of their bodies of work.
Ryan and Tony have known each other since Tony was a freshman in high school. Before Ryan started working as a photographer, he taught and coached at Rockhurst High School in Kansas City as a history teacher, basketball coach, and assistant athletic director. Tony was a student and a standout athlete, and by his senior year, was the second ranked running back in the country. He signed and played football at the University of Missouri.
As years passed, Ryan was aware of the training work that Tony was doing through social media, and reached out to him to see if he was interested in collaborating. After several conversations, they pulled together a shoot in late April of this year.
Tony was recently signed as a celebrity coach for the Biggest Loser race series, and has produced a variety of fitness and health related events in Kansas City. The images needed to work well to both market Tony for his training work, as well as fit in with the other entrepreneurial efforts he is involved with. Ryan feels the series they have produced together will been beneficial for both of them, a true mark of a successful collaboration.
Ryan launched this collaboration to partner up with someone he knew who would be dynamic on camera, but beyond that, also have mutual respect for the time and effort it takes to pull off action like this. Collaboration is one of Ryan’s favorite things about working as a photographer, and he is constantly looking for opportunities to work with innovative people.
Some of Ryan’s favorite work from this collection is done in the studio. A high percentage of what Ryan produces is out on location, so for him, to be able to focus some of the shoot solely in a studio environment was a fun and challenging change of pace. Tony is an extremely physical guy, and keeping up with him with on camera is challenging for any photographer. Ryan wanted to freeze the action, so he blacked out the studio and shot in short bursts. He played with multiple exposures, and finished the shoot with long exposure shots and light painting.
Ryan has put Tony into numerous situations where most other talent would be hesitant. For Tony, this is part of the challenge of making something great. Even though they shot in an almost completely dark environment, Tony was still able to hit his marks and execute multiple consecutive flips without missing a beat.
I want to push to the point of failure because I believe that is where the greatest amount of growth occurs. My personal goal is always to capture him as an athlete first and foremost. He was an amazing running back because he had that dangerous mix of speed and power, and I want my images to capture that duality.
Ryan loved working with Tony because they were both willing to do whatever it took to get the job done right. The two are already looking forward to another project together, this one a full-fledged production that is specifically football themed, with hopes of rain and the casting of several additional athletes. They admit, they may have to wait for the warmer months to pull it off.
As long as we are both benefitting and creating work we are proud of, I believe the collaboration will continue for some time to come.
See more of Ryan at: http://www.ryan-nicholson.com