When I was starting to photograph yoga in 2008, Matt had just made his commitment to yoga by quitting the day job and jumping feet first into a full time career as a teacher. I was just starting to screw up my courage and actually ask people to model for me. After two years of regular practice, the only people I had really gotten to know were the teachers (and THAT is a topic for another post…), and so they were the only ones I could approach. Matt’s classes were a favorite destination, and one day after class he and I were chatting and I took a deep breath and said “Any interest in shooting some yoga down by Boulder Creek?” I was so thrilled (and relieved!) when he said yes. This was only the second time I’d actually set out to work with a model. We got some nice shots and this one was the first wall print I sold to CorePower Yoga.
It was the beginning of a partnership that has continued for over 3 years. There is a lovely parallel between Matt’s development into one of the premier teachers in Boulder and the growth of my own eye, vision and skills. He is also adventuresome, creative and willing to do the odd crazy thing. And he loves to get upside down.
We hadn’t shot together in a while, so one day when we ran into each other at class I said “Let’s find some rocks and play.” Two days later, I loaded the lighting gear into the car and we met up at Flagstaff Mountain above Boulder. The look, feel and character of light is incredibly important to me, and where I once just depended on the natural light, I now work at manipulating it. My skills (and gear!) have come a long way since that first foray to Boulder Creek, and I knew what I wanted to do with Matt. I wanted to use the rock and cloud texture at midday, and control it with artificial light that didn’t look artificial. Similarly, Matt’s skills have come a long way and he knows the poses and energy he wants to represent. This image is the result—the pose is called Fallen Angel, and to me, the light, the setting and Matt’s execution all capture that name wonderfully. It’s my favorite image of this year.
A coda to the story is that right as we were finishing up, a park ranger came by and informed me that setting up a light stand (which qualifies as a structure) on Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks is illegal. She accepted my ignorance and I just got a warning, but it means this photo is never to be repeated. I kind of like that.