24 IN­TER­VIEW

Pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­pher Andy Day cap­tures unique ac­tion packed images show­ing the in­ter­ac­tion be­tween the hu­man and ur­ban form

Digital Photograper - - Contents -

Andy Day, known for his ac­tion-packed shots of park­our ath­letes, dis­cusses how he suc­cess­fully cap­tures the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the body and the ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment in his im­agery

Andy Day is a pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­pher spe­cial­is­ing in ad­ven­ture sports, travel, ar­chi­tec­ture and land­scape pho­tog­ra­phy. Day’s clients have in­cluded Amer­i­can Eagle, Ecko Un­lim­ited, Canon, Dairy Crest and Yota, and his work has been pub­lished in a va­ri­ety of mag­a­zines and news­pa­pers around the world, in­clud­ing The Sun­day Times, The Guardian, Stuff, Front, Zoo and Men’s Fit­ness.

WHAT GOT YOU IN­TER­ESTED IN PHO­TOG­RA­PHY? HAVE YOU AL­WAYS SHOT PARK­OUR?

Fif­teen years ago I was study­ing for a mas­ter’s de­gree that I never com­pleted. One of our mod­ules fo­cused on ur­ban rep­re­sen­ta­tion in film – how the city is per­ceived and con­veyed through mov­ing images. I’d spot­ted park­our very briefly on ca­ble tele­vi­sion af­ter fin­ish­ing a shift in a bar, and it stuck in my head. I asked my tu­tor if I could write about this weird jump­ing thing that I’d seen, and he said yes. I started re­search­ing park­our on­line, find­ing very little in­for­ma­tion in English, but even­tu­ally stum­bling upon a fo­rum whose mem­bers were about to meet in Lon­don for the third ever or­gan­ised train­ing ses­sion in the UK. I asked if I could join them and took along a film SLR bought for me by my par­ents that I didn’t re­ally un­der­stand how to use. Af­ter­ward, I shared the images with the tiny com­mu­nity and peo­ple seemed to re­ally like them.

From there it snow­balled – I kept meet­ing up with them, learn­ing pho­tog­ra­phy along the way, and mak­ing what was then pretty much the only park­our pho­to­graphs. Park­our was ex­plod­ing into main­stream con­scious­ness and sud­denly mag­a­zines and ad­ver­tis­ers were in­ter­ested in pub­lish­ing my work. I was also train­ing park­our a little my­self, so for me, both were very much con­nected. Pho­tog­ra­phy in­formed my un­der­stand­ing of park­our and vice versa.

WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES YOUR STYLE STAND OUT?

I shoot with quite an ar­chi­tec­tural style, de­spite cap­tur­ing so much ac­tion. Park­our is about a re­la­tion­ship be­tween the body and the ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment, so I’m try­ing to con­vey that con­ver­sa­tion with ev­ery im­age. I tell my stu­dents that the im­age should work even if the body were to be re­moved.

HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR WORK FRESH?

I travel a huge amount so I’m for­tu­nate to work in lots of dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions with a huge di­ver­sity of amaz­ing peo­ple. The ath­letes are a huge part of what I do, and they are very much col­lab­o­ra­tors in ev­ery im­age. Some­times I’m not much more than a mon­key pushing a but­ton on a very ex­pen­sive box.

“Park­our is about a re­la­tion­ship be­tween the body and the ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment, so I’m try­ing to con­vey that with ev­ery im­age”

These re­la­tion­ships are cru­cial, giv­ing me op­por­tu­ni­ties to go on ad­ven­tures, dis­cover new places, and cre­ate images that haven’t been seen be­fore.

WHAT’S IN YOUR KIT BAG?

I’m a min­i­mal­ist. In my Peak De­sign bag I carry a Canon 6D Mark I, EF 16-35mm f2.8, EF 2470mm f2.8, and an EF 40mm pan­cake.

IN YOUR OPIN­ION WHAT MAKES A GOOD PARK­OUR SHOT?

For much of my ca­reer, I thought that a good park­our shot should in­spire a sense of in­trigue or won­der, not just in terms of what the body is do­ing, but where it is do­ing it. Rad­i­cal bod­ies in rad­i­cal places. As park­our has be­come more main­stream, I’ve started to un­der­stand that the bod­ies can be even more rad­i­cal if they are not the stereo­typ­i­cal white, ath­letic young male bod­ies that dom­i­nate life­style sports. In­creas­ingly I’m pho­tograph­ing women train­ing which I hope helps to de­velop park­our as a global, pro­gres­sive dis­ci­pline that’s open to ev­ery­one, re­gard­less of back­ground or abil­ity. Ul­ti­mately, a good photo should do more than just in­spire awe, but also pro­voke ques­tions about how we per­ceive ur­ban space.

WHAT ARE THE BIG­GEST CHAL­LENGES TO CRE­AT­ING A STAND-OUT IM­AGE?

Prob­a­bly just get­ting all of the right fac­tors to come to­gether in the right moment – the weather, the peo­ple, the lo­ca­tion, the light, en­ergy lev­els. Some­times you get most of these, but oc­ca­sion­ally they all co­a­lesce, and that’s not al­ways some­thing you can con­trol, so it’s a mat­ter of con­stantly putting your­self out there.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT SHOOT­ING PARK­OUR?

Go­ing to amaz­ing places with amaz­ing peo­ple. It’s an in­cred­i­ble priv­i­lege.

DO YOU DO A LOT OF EDIT­ING TO YOUR IMAGES? WHAT DO YOU DO? DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE PIECE OF SOFT­WARE?

Lightroom is my go-to, with ad­di­tional retouching from Pho­to­shop. How­ever, I’m about to ex­per­i­ment with Sky­lum Lu­mi­nar, and I’m ex­pect­ing to switch from Pho­to­shop to Affin­ity Photo in the next cou­ple of months. I tend not to do too much to my images be­yond some gen­tle ad­just­ments. I love edit­ing my pho­tos but I think [tak­ing] too many risks [makes] the edit too much of a dis­trac­tion.

WHAT AD­VICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO AS­PIR­ING PHO­TOG­RA­PHERS?

Love learn­ing, and not just about pho­tog­ra­phy. Learn how to write, how to de­sign, and al­ways as­sume that there’s some­thing im­por­tant that you don’t yet know. And keep in mind that you’re not go­ing to take great pho­tos by

“In­creas­ingly I’m pho­tograph­ing women train­ing which I hope helps to de­velop park­our as a global, pro­gres­sive dis­ci­pline that’s open to ev­ery­one”

sit­ting at home. Tech­ni­cal skill and a keen eye are one thing, but I think peo­ple of­ten for­get that the big­gest part of be­ing a suc­cess­ful pho­tog­ra­pher is be­ing able to put your­self in the po­si­tion to take a pho­to­graph.

OVER YOUR CA­REER SO FAR, WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT PHO­TOG­RA­PHY THAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED?

Gosh. So much. And a few years ago I com­pleted a mas­ter’s de­gree in So­ci­ol­ogy and Pho­tog­ra­phy, so that added a whole new di­men­sion to my un­der­stand­ing.

Andy Day has an up­com­ing four-day in­ten­sive course, run­ning from 2 to 5 Au­gust. The course will take place at var­i­ous ur­ban lo­ca­tions around Lon­don and will see the group work­ing with pro­fes­sional move­ment artists, dancers and es­tab­lished park­our ath­letes. Find out more at bit.ly/2jt­nAoR.

Below IN­TER­AC­TION Ar­lin Ka­lenchuk climb­ing one of the build­ings on the cam­pus of the Univer­sity of Bri­tish Co­lum­bia

Right SCALE Bog­dan Cvetkovic jump­ing across the mon­u­ment at

Os­tra, Ser­bia

Far right ABOVE LON­DON

Ash Hol­land look­ing over the streets of Cen­tral Lon­don at 5am

on a Novem­ber morn­ing

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