I’ll start with a confession: I’ve been shooting bodybuilding stage pictures for more than ten years and I’m a little bit bored with doing it. Is that surprising? Not really. I’ve shot more competitions and more competitors onstage than anyone else in Canada. If I had to guess, I’ve taken more than a million pictures of competitors at everything from local shows to the Mr. Olympia. Frankly, reflecting, I’m surprised that it took this long to get bored. That's a lot of the same ol' thing.
That’s not to say that I’m going to stop shooting the stage – I’ll still do it when the need arises, because I still enjoy getting those very special shots when the competitor hits the pose just right. But for the time being, I’d rather shoot more interesting stuff – at least what’s interesting to me at the moment – and that’s why I was happy when IDFA president Shaun Campbell agreed that it would be a good idea to have someone else shoot the stage at his 2010 IDFA International Championships held on July 17 in Toronto, and for me to go elsewhere in the venue to capture something fresh and unique.
Mostly, I hung around backstage; it was here that I could take some unique pictures that no one else at the venue could get. For instance, the shot on the cover this month and the one below are of IDFA pro Rob DeLuca, taken while he was pumping up and getting ready to compete in the IDFA’s pro division against other top IDFA competitors such as Dickens Lambert, Erik Altstrup, Denis LeBlanc and Tony Muto. The one in our “Iron Shots” section this month features Rob, Tony and Dickens just before the finals. These are just a few of 1000 or so unique photos I took that day.
This change didn’t just benefit me; I could tell the competitors liked it too. From the novices to the veterans, all were excited to be in these backstage photos. In fact, it was crazy at times backstage as competitors clamoured to get into the shots. These photos I took backstage at the incredible International Championships captured a time in a place that will never happen again.
But what good are pictures like these if, say, only a few get published, or only Shaun and I get to see them? Luckily, that’s not going to happen. Shaun didn’t just let me hang out backstage so that I could get my butt out of an audience seat. Rather, it’s was to allow us to fully capture an IDFA event like never before, and some of those photos will appear here on SeriousAboutMuscle.com in articles and in dedicated galleries, and many others will appear in hardcopy format in the new IDFA Magazine that the organization unveiled one day before the July 17 show. Many of my photos appear in the inaugural issue of this amazing publication, and many more will appear in the issues that are to come.
Everyone knows the old saying: a change is as good as a rest. When it comes to bodybuilding photography, the saying certainly holds true. I could have sat out the July 17 event and relaxed at home and simply hoped my desire to shoot stage shots would return again, or I could have sat in an audience seat casually shooting stage shots and, shot by shot, continued being a little more bored. Instead, what I did was to completely change my style and capture the show in an absolutely new way. I’m glad I chose the latter because the strategy worked and I’m more excited than ever to get even better behind-the-scenes shots at a future IDFA show.
. . . Doug Schneider, Publisher
Doug Schneider is the publisher and chief photographer for SeriousAboutMuscle.com.