OK secret divulging time. I… I…. OK. Here goes. I watch 1970s and 1980s Soviet and European gymnastics videos on YouTube. I acknowledge that it is weird. I know. Why do I do this and how did I start?
Well, I’ve been obsessed with gymnastics from an early age. I think it is a beautiful and amazing sport and in the 1970s and 1980s, nobody did it better than the Romanians and the Soviets. Sure year, Mary Lou Retton, but the Soviets had this balletic grace and style that was unbeatable. I love how they always performed to classical music and their performances looked like ballet with some tumbling thrown in. Today, at its best, floor exercise is high energy and fun. At its worst, it is this awkward meld of dance and tumbling.
The old gymnastics videos allow me to study the movements of the performers and get pointers on who to photograph movement. Maybe because the moves were simpler to execute than the ones they do now, it is easier to study their movements. I’m not sure. But it is still fun to study them and then see how it translates when I am taking photos. How I do it is that I set up an imaginary “frame” where I think the photo will happen, a moment when I know that the best movement will happen and then snap at that moment. The action happens within the frame usually. I figure out where the frame is by trial and error, but I am usually right. Eh, well sometimes wrong but I adjust.