So what do you do when you're asked to photograph a whole team of kick-ass roller derby chicks? Normally I'd say pick up your camera and run away. Fast! But it's been a while since I've been whipped by a photoshoot, so I thought, what the hell, bring it on! Bring on the Parliament of Pain, The Hague's take-no-shit woman's roller derby team.
This could have easily been subtitled: "Be prepared because all your plans could go to shit!" because while I had awesome plans (after pre-scouting the area) for a cool setting-sun urban shoot outdoors, mother nature (the bitch she is at times), decided to throw a huge friggin' thunderstorm right into my plans! So, instead of cool, street urban grungy stuff I had planned, I was 'stuck' using the indoor gym they trained in. Luckily, I was so prepared, in terms of poses, lighting, settings, etc, that all that really changed was the background. If there's one thing I always drill home to people who're pretty new at shooting is exactly that..BE PREPARED. When I was thrown this obstacle, it barely slowed the shoot down and I came out with images I was happy with even if they weren't exactly what I had in mind going into the shoot.
On the other hand, I had so many ideas in my head that I ran out of time especially since there were a lot of POP girls I had to photograph. If it weren't for the 10pm closing time of the gym, I'm sure we'd have been there at least another hour! For example, the montage portrait below was the ONLY one I got to do! I wanted to do one for each girl! Next time.
The Darkness letting me montage her.
Above is The Darkness. She and I sat around having a beer talking about what we wanted to do. I wanted to give her all these great ideas about what I wanted to do, but I'd never done this before, and there's not a plethora of roller derby photography floating around the web for me to steal.. get inspired from. So I rely on showing her some of my past portrait work, and my montage portraits (above) and threw around lots of words like "kick-ass" "awesome" "amazing" & "cool lighting"etc... she bought it.
Femme Tastic giving me some profile attitude.
Now I had to back up my talk. The first series of images are to be used as "trading cards" which I thought was a very cool idea. The one above, while shot with the "trading card" lighting set-up, I took for my own personal use since a profile shot in landscape mode isn't what we needed.. but I liked it.. helps that Femme Tastic was such a good sport and had her own ideas!
Toetie Gonzales getting ready
After the trading card shots, and since we were still stuck indoors due to the 2nd coming of The Flood, we chose to shoot on the floor of the gym while the girls skated around us with me occasionally having to shout "out of my shot! OUT!" :) Working with flash in these sorts of lighting conditions is crucial.. if you think you can do without, or that you're a "natural light photographer"... you're fooling yourself.
Bella Tricks showing me she has no intention of taking any crap from me.
In the end, it was a great, if long (3 hours!), night with a bunch of fun chicks who made it really easy. I look forward to watching of their upcoming matches! In the meantime, enjoy more photos! And check out the album at the bottom of the post as well!
One of the 'trading card' set-up with Keelie.
Niki Sixx getting ready to rock it.
Munchkin SmAshley showing us where we're from. Where can I get a pair of Mr. America booty shorts?
Don't let the sweetness fool you, Deadly Dimples
Ana Titicaca is not posing. This is her. Totally. I made sure to not piss her off.
Femme Tastic showing us some moves.
UPDATE: Here's the video I made from the photoshoot: