A little random musing on the subject of race photos. Most races of any size offer this as a service – and I have mixed feelings about it.
I suppose I understand why you’d want one of you crossing the finish line, it’s certainly proof of finishing, of having achieved something. Although that’s hardly going to show you at, necessarily, your best – depends on how good the run was, I suppose. I know a number of people who use a finish photo as their image and they all, without exception, look ecstatic – frequently knackered, but ecstatic. Take a look at Linda on the right (thanks to her for allowing me to use this – it’s just such a fab shot!) The pride, triumph and a certain amount of exhaustion are plain to see, but it’s a brilliant image of a magical moment.
I wonder how much planning it takes to look that good at the finish? My face usually shows tiredness and relief! I’m beginning to wonder if training plans ought to include training sessions concentrating on how to finish in style, as well as just cover the distance – although I suspect some of us may well be beyond hope…
There’s the mis-match between the sensation and reality. This is possibly best summed up by the picture to the right. It has done the rounds, and I have no idea who created it, but they’ve got it to a T. When a run’s going well, I feel ike it’s all under control and I’m running smoothly and neatly. OK, gazelle like is possibly stretching it a bit much – I’m not that thin and fast, but you get the idea. So why do I always manage to look like a lumbering wildebeest?
Or why do I look in extreme pain? Either that or I’ve got some slack jawed gormless look on my face (no, I’m not posting one of them – you’ll just have to imagine it, then double the stupidity). This one brings home the real depths of pain that running can cause. I wasn’t enjoying this one little bit – it would have been kinder to not take it.
It doesn’t help the running is very much a dynamic activity, whereas photography is capturing an instant in time. And that instant may not be a very good representation of the activity as a whole.Take running – the very definition of running is that, at some point in the stride cycle, both feet are off the floor. But that might only be for a short period, and so it’s not surprising that the feet are usually attached, or look welded, to the floor. There are a few mid-air shots, and those always make me smile – that’s proof of real running, that is!
Then there’s running kit – what to wear. My club’s choice of lime green was never going to be my best colour, but at least it doesn’t clash with my rather red face (other local clubs have scarlet with a yellow sash or pink & purple quarters – all equally fetching!). You want to be comfortable, but that doesn’t always make for a good picture. Me in a baseball cap and I’m distinctly hiding under the brim. Or take a look at me in my beanie hat. It was cold, OK? I wanted my ears to be warm. But what do I look like?! Doesn’t help that it’s uphill although at least I’m smiling. The photographer had just cracked a joke, he’d said “Doing well.”
And that’s another thing – do you try and smile, or gesture or just leave them to take a picture of you – which they’re going to do regardless. I like the quiet confidence in the thumbs up, as displayed stylishly to the left by Karen. But I haven’t quite got the timing and distances sorted out.
I’m either waving at them too early or too late. And a wave might not be the wisest choice of movement either – it’s another gesture of which a picture captures only an instant in time. Something static might be more sensible. I can think of a few gestures I could make…
However, this link has to be one of the best things I’ve seen with respect to recording the race – a head cam. This was taken by Marc Stokes, and the charity he was running for likes to have someone take some footage for a montage – absolutely ace. And I love the way he was obviously as excited running up the new pit lane as I was! But you can certainly see quite how nice (and unseasonable) the weather was. It’s a runner’s eye view of the world, and gives me goose bumps watching it again.
He was a bit swifter than I was, and a good foot taller – my view would be somewhat more busy! But it certainly gives a very different perspective from the static, onlooker’s view. It’s one I think I prefer – captures the movement and fludity of running in a way the still shot never can. Not that I want to see myself on video – I imagine I’d find something else to complain about there!