(Italian version here)
This is one of the editorial photoshoot that took me a real super work during the buildup.
The idea of the story was born during a phone call between me and the stylist. One of those ideas that suddenly comes when there are no ideas.
First of all I thought about an outside photoshoot, graphical and very clean, with just the sky as a background and – maybe – strange poses with kids wearing oversized outfits.
That sounds to me like very easy.
I had the idea of using a skateboarding park as a location, to shoot from below and to have a very clean background, nearly inconsistent.
After some internet searches and a couple of site inspections around Milan I realized that in Italy the skateboarding tracks are all covered by graffitis round the edges. And not real graffitis but just horrible doodles.
At that point i decided for a studio photoshoot.
In the mean time I started a Facebook casting to find out a bunch of real young athletes. In particular, kids skilled in artistic and rhythmic gymnastics.
The casting started in March and it had been lasting until the following month. I received more than 250 candidacies from all over Italy, but just the 10% of them was males.
Luckily we found out Alessandro, from Rome, a pretty cool boy, handsome and very good in practicing artistic gym.
After that, just because I like to make things harder for myself, I decided to make a video in addition to the photoshoot. Indeed, just to complicate a little bit things, I decided to record the video with a very high resolution camera and, after that, to extract singular frames to create the printed version of the editorial photoshoot. I will not spend a long time describing all the technical problems, but who knows my job is conscious about the complexity of this choice. Video making and photoshooting have different approaches and technic and to make everything work it is necessary to make a good compromise.
Having said that, there were another problem: to make a good video you need time, more time than making photos – time is really precious-.
I should have planned everything in the details, but I was not practice at all about artistic and rhythmic gymnastics except for some shows on TV. Practically nothing.
First of all I needed to know the skills of every of my young athletes.
I had to understand what they could do for me and the way to ask them to do something, considering I have no bases at all in their field, especially the technical vocabulary.
So, after the casting, I asked to the mothers of the little athletes I choose (except for Alessandro who is living in Rome) to ask to the gym teachers for the permission to have a look during some of their trainings, to write down some notes and to ask some suggestions to their teachers.
I found a lot of incredible people who helped me a lot.
After my ‘training’ I tried to create a story in between their talents and my needs. I found a pretty funny idea picturing a witty competition among the females and the male.
It came out a very odd, but absolutely useful layout! Who know me is conscious I’m not able to draw!
In the meantime, Eleonora, the stylist, was arranging the outfit… Here some previews.
The last days before the photoshoot I had to find out all the exercise equipments and all the safety arrangements to make the kids able to jump – safe – from above.
It was totally not easy! For example, the balance beam you see in the photoshoot is 5 meters long and to lift it you need two strong men. Even the trestle is pretty heavy… So I was good in making my life complicated!
In addition to that we had to assemble and to paint a thin rubber mat on the backdrop to soften the floor and make the exercises safer.
Last but not least, the light blue wall painting (nearly 300 square meters). In the video the retouching is a pretty hard stuff… so we got it right!
For those who love the technical infos, I recorded with RED EPIC 6K, but I have principally used 5K. 4K at 100fps for the high speed footage.
To illuminate we used an endless light daylight for a toll of 18000 watts.
The gym teacher of Emma was taken on to warm up the kids before the shooting and to help me to manage them.
To have a look to the complete photoshoot click here.
To have a look to he video click here.
Thank you very much to the grooming Loris Rocchi and, of course, to Eleonora Cottafavi for their incredible job!
Photo: Federico Leone
Stylist: Eleonora Cottafavi
Grooming: Loris Rocchi