Geo Rittenmyer: Disney on Ice
With the Olympics currently taking over the world stage, the number of web searches for Nathan Chen and learn-to-skate lessons have skyrocketed. Even if you aren’t a figure skating superfan, it’s hard not to be impressed by the athleticism and grace of the sport. That’s why Disney on Ice contacted Seattle, Washington based photographer Geo Rittenmyer about photographing some of their performers.
The goal was to create portraits of the skaters that showed both the beauty and athleticism of their talent. The skaters at Disney are incredibly talented, but the talent often gets overlooked because of the elaborate Disney costumes.
What may seem like a simple project actually took nearly a year to conceptualize. Feld Entertainment, the production company that creates Disney on Ice, worked with Geo to formulate a plan. Disney on Ice wanted to adhere to the whimsical, ethereal brand for which Disney is known, so Geo planned a high-key shoot with fog and a white background.
After months of planning and quick pre-production, Geo and his crew were on their way across the country to meet the skaters where they were planning to open Disney on Ice’s new “Dare to Dream” tour. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans.
18 hours before the shoot was scheduled, everything was canceled: the photo shoot, the opening of the new show, the next three weeks of the tour, all of it. The skaters were driving north, and I was on a plane back to Seattle, all of us escaping the uncertainty of hurricane Irma.
Nearly a month later, Geo was able to reunite with the skaters in Virginia for the shoot.
I figured the shoot was done, but the PR team was able to get on ice time and a little bit of a budget back, and I was asked if I could still make it happen on a week’s notice. I loved the challenge and took the opportunity to make it even better. I was able to track down the materials to make the 20-foot background I wanted, built it in my studio in Seattle, packed it up and brought it with me to Virginia.
He was finally getting the chance to shoot the skaters in action, but Geo had an even shorter time frame than before. To optimize their precious moments with the talent, he and his assistant arrived early to shoot just the fog, which they would integrate with the images of skaters in post.
The time with the skaters was effortless and fun. It’s special for them getting the opportunity to just free skate and then see the still images of them performing.
In the end, a year of planning, a hurricane, a postponed opening, a week’s notice, a red-eye flight and lack of sleep couldn’t stop Geo from completing what he started. Disney was blown away by the images, the skaters shared their portraits on their own social media, and Geo is even planning on using them as a mailer.
When you turn the channel over to the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics on Sunday, think what it feels like to sit ten feet away from the singles and pairs as they fly through the air, and think of Geo Rittenmyer.
Client: Disney on Ice
Producers: Nell Whiting, Cynthia Jaramillo
Public Relations: Stephanie Adamo
Choreography Consultant: Adam Loosley
Assistant: Michael Jones
See more of Geo at georittenmyer.com!
And check out our other members on our Find Photographers page.