© 2013 notworkrelated - David Rutter & Helen Roscoe. All rights reserved. L1019306

Portfolio Project; Notworkrelated and Athletes

We’ve been waiting to share this project for quite some time but needed to have all of its components complete before we felt happy with sharing it with you.

During the winter months Helen arranged to shoot two of our top UK athletes Kate Dennison and Martyn Rooney, both of whom have competed in two Olympic Games including Beijing and the amazing London 2012. Martyn has been our top 400m runner for quite a few years whilst Kate was  our number 1 pole vaulter. They are a couple outside of sport too which is why we thought this may prove to be a fun and insightful project to work with them on, and they agreed.

The shoot took place at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium, where for most of the winter months Martyn was training hard in anticipation of the 2013 season still to come. Kate meanwhile has retired from competitive sport and is focusing on other aspects of her life within the work-related arena.

The aim of this shoot was for us to produce a sports-documentary focused project that features the athletes, their training, their personality, their relationship and their environment. As a secondary idea to the shoot we decided to design a small, promotional limited-edition booklet and poster which will be used for our own marketing purposes both from a photography and design point of view.

Helen’s interest in Sports Marketing imagery stems from her background in Athletics, she too has competed at a high level for Great Britain as a 200m runner, training at Loughborough University for many years and as a result has forged close friendships and relationships with some of the UK’s top athletes. Helen trained alongside Kate when they were both at Loughborough together.

When Helen first started thinking about freelance photography she was commissioned by Loughborough University to photograph many of the athletics stars who went onto compete in the Athens Olympics that year. Since then this side of Helen’s portfolio has grown but was put on hold when Notworkrelated formed and along with David they ventured around the world for 15 months. The impact Notworkrelated is having on Helen’s professional practice is obvious when most of her commissions come in the style of lifestyle and documentary photography.

‘I tend to shoot more lifestyle and documentary work with people than ever before and I really think this is down to the travel and documentary side of my portfolio. It has also made me think differently about the way I photograph people. I am interested in sharing something personal about someone and what I love about photographing athletes is I know what they are going through. I think there is so much behind the scenes that is so exciting to document it’s just unmissable stuff for me.’

I wanted to shoot a sports related project without any client pressure or demand and with David joining me as another photographer on the shoot I felt we’d be able to get something gritty out of it, a raw and natural shoot that portrays something about Kate and Martyn, their relationship to sport, to one another and to their environment. We had free reign of the venue and amazing light all day so it worked in our favour to play and create what we wanted to. The empty stadium just adds a further atmosphere to the overall feel of the shoot, usually packed with spectators when they are in competition mode, but silence ensues when the training happens, there is more time to think, more time to analyse and enough space to distance yourself in those quiet moments between step-runs.

It was only when we were editing the shoot that we felt we really had something we wanted to share with people, and between us we brought together a limited edition booklet and poster designed by David.

‘The booklet and poster uses geometric design, utilising a repeated grid structure for the photography and typography layout. This adds form and hierarchy to the overall design. Gill Sans, a sans-serif  font, created in the late 1920′s was used for its clear no-nonsense approach and modernist values.  The front and rear of the booklet uses simple geometric shapes to represent speed, rotation, movement and the competitive need to participate and win. Iconography illustrations represent each sport with simple shapes, lines of movement and colour.’

We wanted to produce something a little different from your average marketing piece by injecting our personality into it, Kate and Martyn have their profile’s as athletes and we have ours too. Because Helen has got personal records as a former athlete it was easy to document her events and add this to her profile, for David though we wanted to add something different so his event is ‘Getting up each day’ and he’s working on his P.B!

We’re really proud of this body of work and as a project that shows what we can both do when we work together combining our photography and design skills, and we do this whether it’s work-related or not.

David has since been commissioned by Martyn to design his new website and Helen recently photographed the UK’s number 1 male Squash player for an editorial feature.

As part of our own promotion we gave away 5 limited edition booklets and posters through a recent blog post with our friends The Printspace.

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