Anger, determination, exhaustion, sweat, tears. These are the emotions I capture in the I am CrossFit photo series. With these images I want the viewer to be able to experience the emotion of these CrossFit athletes endure. One of the things I’m most interested in is hearing and telling the stories of these athletes. I am exploring the ideas and importance around community in the I am CrossFit series.
My process for this project is to photograph the athletes during their workout and after. I feel this process captures more of the emotions involved with working out. CrossFit is a family, a place of love, growth, and pain. Everyone has a different story on what brought them to CrossFit. I ask them about their background, why they started, and their age. One thing that fascinates me about CrossFit is how people of all backgrounds and ages join a community that sweats and fight through rough workouts. For me, CrossFit has changed me physically and mentally. This transformation has evoked many emotions and I feel it is important to share.
To capture more emotion, I print these portraits and have these athletes work out on top of life-sized prints of themselves. In this process they may tear up the photo by slamming or dropping the barbell, jump roping, kettle bell, or whatever the workout consists of. When I display these prints, I like to incorporate used equipment. It adds context and evokes feelings of being in a CrossFit gym. Just like the body, the equipment changes and gets wear and tear.
Fitness is an emotional and personal journey and finding the right community is important. I recall feeling extremely nervous the first time I went into my local CrossFit box. I felt self-conscious and intimidated. The box was full of shirtless fit people lifting heavy weights. I didn’t know if I could fit into this environment. I decided to take the risk and go into a class. It was so emotional for me; I ran out crying after my workout. What I didn’t expect was for the coaches to run out after me to see if I was okay. This is when I realized it wasn’t just a gym, it was a community that was ready to invested in me and my wellbeing. I’ve been to several gyms, but never received the love that I did from this community. Other gyms, I was ignored and didn’t have a sense of belonging.
In CrossFit, none of us look the same or lift the same, but we all support each other, show up, and put in the work. We all feel the emotions of this, and we respect each other. In my gym, we scream, grunt, cuss, cry, laugh, and celebrate together. I found I’m very fortunate to have found my home. Over the years I’ve found that not all boxes have this sense of community, and I find that to be very sad. Through this project I want to show what a gym can be and want to bring the community together. Growth is hard and we all need community and support. I want to show that anyone can look bad ass no matter their age, size and or fitness level is.