After coming across an Instagram post of fitness model Amber Callahan wearing a neon yellow bikini, Philadelphia-based photographer Steve Boyle was inspired to pay homage to former Olympic medalist Florence Griffith-Joyner. Florence, “Flo-Jo,” came to prominence as a track and field athlete in the 1980s, and her style and energy motivated Steve to create a retro photoshoot that portrays the beauty and determination of athletic women.
I immediately thought of Florence Griffith-Joyner and wanted to photograph Amber on a blue track to compliment the suit.
Prior to starting his freelance career, Steve spent a year as an assistant & lighting technician for Sports Illustrated, and briefly held a desk job as a photo editor at a fitness magazine. His background in the fitness world adds another layer of experience, enabling him to showcase the physical strength and resolve of his subjects. When working with athletes, Steve aims to capture their physicality, intensity, and inherent competitiveness.
My photographic style is often referred to as clean & graphic and these images are no exception.
A decade marked by bold style and vivid colors – the eclectic fashion from the 80s is making its way back 40 years later to inspire trends once more. While most of the clothing that has returned to the runway are toned-down versions of the originals, the vibrant neon yellow bikini and blue retro sunglasses worn by Amber stay true to the 1980s style. The contrast of Amber’s bright swimsuit against the backdrop of the blue track provides the clean and graphic imagery Steve is known for.
The style of the late 80’s was naturally very graphic in it’s visuals.
The intent behind the project was to create content for both Steve’s and Amber’s social media, while making the images available for stock with Gallerystock. Steve and Amber had to coordinate their schedules on a day where both the track would be available and the weather accommodating. Steve envisioned clear blue skies and sunshine, which is not always the case on the East Coast. The project took place on a New Jersey high school track in May — on a hot and sunny day — totaling approximately two hours after Amber was finished with hair and makeup.
While Amber’s physical ability provided the desired look, Steve took time to correct Amber’s runner stance, as the model had no previous track experience. After the shoot, Steve made an edit of about 100 selects, but cut that down to roughly 10 for post-production retouching. He edited out any reflections in the sunglasses and removed all logos to make the images available for stock.
A popular figure as a result of both her record-setting athleticism and eclectic style, Florence Griffith Joyner was an Olympic Gold Medalist setting world records in 1988 for both the 100 m and 200 m. In 1989, Joyner abruptly retired from athletics, but she remained a pop culture figure through endorsement deals, acting, and designing.
Florence passed away at the young age of 38, yet her athleticism and activism continue to live on. Projects such as Steve and Amber’s collaboration pay tribute to the exceptional life of Florence Griffith Joyner, while remembering the unique style that made her a joy to watch.