Photographing the Making of an Athlete, with Bill Frakes

Join veteran Sports Illustrated photographer Bill Frakes at the legendary Kona Skatepark in Jacksonville, Florida, as he photographs Cason Kirk, one of the best young skaters in the country.

Bill has been photographing Cason for over 5 years as part of a long term documentary project. In that time Bill has documented Cason’s growth as a skater and as a person, and all the while refining and developing his own techniques as a photographer in this environment. Engaging with a subject in a long term project can enrich your photography and your life in ways you’ve never imagined.

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Course Lessons:

Lesson 1: Introduction (Duration 10:00)

Bill introduces Cason and discusses their history of working together and how they got started on this project.

Lesson 2: Ollie Over Bill (Duration 05:31)

A benefit of working with someone on a long term project is developing a sense of trust and collaboration that allows you to push the envelope of what each of you can do.

Lesson 3: Bring in the Strobe (Duration 05:09)

Bringing a strobe into the same setup as the previous lesson allows the shot to transform from a silhouette to a portrait.

Lesson 4: In the Pool (Duration 02:23)

The curving lines of the pool coupled with a radical angle allows for a number of graphic elements to come together in the final shot.

Lesson 5: The Snake Run (Duration 02:21)

The ease and comfort of working together over a long period of time allows for better communication that can facilitate shots that would be otherwise nearly impossible to create.

Lesson 6: Portrait Session (Duration 04:51)

Working in a portrait session can help track the evolution of the subject over time.

Lesson 7: Put the Shadow on the Wall (Duration 06:29)

In going back to shoot the subject in the same setting again and again over time you can develop a series of photographs that are useful for comparing and contrasting against shots from other time periods.

Lesson 8: Board Slide (Duration 09:42)

It is important to include detail and cutaway shots in your sessions that helps to round out the larger body of work.

Lesson 9: Tombstone (Duration 01:24)

Over a long term project you may document various milestones where the subject is able to achieve goals that were previously out of reach.

Lesson 10: Progression (Duration 01:28)

A lot of the work in a long term project is repetition, where you keep coming back to shots you've done before to show the progression, but also find ways to keep it fresh and move in new directions.

Lesson 11: Conclusion (Duration 02:56)

Bill wraps up the class with some reflection on how working on a long term project like this can enrich your life in many unexpected ways.

Meet Your Instructor: Bill Frakes

Bill Frakes is a Sports Illustrated Staff Photographer based in Florida who has worked in all 50 states and in more than 125 countries for a wide variety of editorial…

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