2 – Misplaced Portraits: Roller Derby #2 – Sacha Swims

Sacha Swims

I have some pretty amazing friends. It’s not every day that someone agrees to swim for a photo-shoot. And I should add, in the middle of autumn when the average monthly temperature is 21.8. And I should add that the swimmer will be in her complete roller derby uniform including roller skates!

But Sacha (from South Sea Roller Derby) stepped up and said she’d do it. Being a navy girl, she’s no stranger to cold water but even that doesn’t diminish how impressive she was. To say the water wasn’t warm is an understatement.

The date was quickly agreed upon and I arrived with my normal crack team of wife Miranda (behind the scenes photographer and 2nd assistant) and my 20 month old daughter Riley (1st assistant and chief morale officer).

Sacha arrived and we got to work. We tried a ramp style “stall” first but we didn’t quite nail it before Sacha got drenched. And when I say didn’t quite nail it, it was hilarious!  Splash!! From there I made her swim up and down for a dozen times each time adjusting the angle to achieve the head out of the water, arm away from the face and at least one skate visible. After shooting the same thing from the front Sacha had a rest on an inflatable ice-cream. Of course we photographed that (and especially photographed the exceptional stick work by Karen pushing and pulling the Ice cream into the area lit by the flashes). Pure teamwork at its best.

The final shot attempted was a half submerged closeup of her face. 

The shoot was a lot of fun for all and I’ve been looking forward to releasing this portrait. A nice simple photo of a woman taking a swim … in full derby gear.  Take a look at the video below to see more photos from the shoot.

In case it’s not obvious, I presented Sacha with her portrait on her wedding day where I was honoured to have been hired as the photographer for the day.

Sacha receives her print (in her wedding dress)

When I saw Richard post asking for volunteers for his new project, I immediately put my hand up. Knowing how great his photos normally are I wanted to be a part of it. When he told us what the concept was and had a brainstorm about out of the ordinary places to put a derby girl, I suggested swimming (and I laughed and I laughed) because it was so ridiculous. But, Lo and behold a mere few days later I was kitted up and taking the literal plunge into the sub arctic temperature water. It was such a fun experience and I’m so glad I volunteered. Seeing the end result was amazing, how do you make a person in full derby gear look so natural in the water? 10/10 would do again.

Sacha, again, you were amazing. I hope you love your participation print! It took me four hours to select the final portrait. A massive thanks goes to Karen as well. Karen not only instantly volunteered the use of her house and pool for the shoot but “cleaned ze” pool, blew up flotation devices and provided coffee and icy-poles.