"WHY I BECAME A FITNESS PHOTOGRAPHER"
Well, sit back and enjoy this ride because this was a journey that’s still going!
All my life I’ve been an athlete, and loved the thrill of competition. For most tall people, we get asked all the time if we play basketball, heck try being a tall black guy...that question has been asked well over a thousand times. For the record...NO! I didn’t play organized basketball, or football in grade school. My first love is Track and Field. I ran the 440, 880, and the 1600 meter races. If you didn’t know, Track and Field is primarily an individual sport, just like bodybuilding. Besides, I just wasn’t the most hand coordinated person you’d meet, heck...I still look at the ball when dribbling and I fouled more than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar! I’ve seen the question be asked on social media about, “Which sport has the best athletes”, and to me that’s always going to be Track and Field, however I’m biased and that’s because it’s a sport that you have to race against time, individuals, and primarily yourself.
When I first started photography, I was deep into wanting to be a fashion photographer. I was deep into Amanda Diaz (a good friend of mine), Julia Kuzmenko-McKim, Lindsay Adler, and Emily Soto. I dove into the book, “Fashion Flair for Portrait and Wedding Photography”, by Lindsay Adler and wanted to created fashion photos. To me that was the only art, or reason to being a photographer, however deep inside I knew that I wanted to be around athletes.
A few years ago I wrote this blog, “How I Got Interested in Photography”, and it still stands true and I still want to do a photo shoot with Jamie Eason. I loved the way the human body looks when it has muscles and definition, curves, and more. I love the transformation stories, the stories of their struggles, and how empowering it is to overcome those. I love the way fitness athletes push themselves to constantly improve themselves like most of us who are creating art. I love how when we’re on a photo shoot, that we can cut loose and laugh, and somehow, someway...someone lets go and breaks wind (farts), but we continue to laugh about it. There’s just more “Down to Mars” feeling being around fitness athletes.
In 2014, I took a leap of faith and started taking my focus towards fitness photography even more seriously. I was awarded the opportunity to do the backstage photography for the WBFF show in Denver. There were a couple of other fitness photographers there, and I had the opportunity to shoot with a few of the athletes that participated. I was a complete unknown, who had a lot of fashion-ish photos in my portfolio, and really not much of fitness, or glamour. I knew what I wanted in my portfolio, and that athletes were really my true calling.
Fast forward to 2018, and I’ve still got a love for fashion photography, however my heart is deep into the fitness/glamour photography. On occasion, I mix the two together...I know...I’ve been told PLENTY of times that they’re not supposed to be together, however that’s the beauty of photography...you can occasionally break the rules and do your own thing! Like most people forget how sexy it can be to see an athletic man in a suit and tie, or a woman with beautiful quads display herself in a sundress for the summer. It’s all about letting people be people and stop trying to put them in a box. Like who am I to tell a fitness athlete that they can’t be in a fashion outfit?!? Say it to their face...I dare you!
I'm a fitness photographer based in Denver Colorado, and I strive every day to become one of the worlds best...not just for me, but for the people that I work with.
Thank you for your time!
Mike Conley - @MikeConPhoto on IG