CGN Roundtable: Photography, Part I

Everyone loves looking at pictures from meets and of their favorite gymnasts. And we just so happen to have some great photographers on staff who have shot some great moments in the sport over the past few years. In this week’s roundtable, we’re talking all about our favorite images, making up captions for funny out of context shots and everything in between.

What are some of your favorite gymnastics shots? Do you have a favorite gymnastics photographer? Let us know in the comments or on social media!

In terms of picture content, what’s your favorite type of gymnastics shot—poses, action, celebration, bars? 

Elizabeth: My peers know very well by now that I love a good on-the-floor choreography shot. I also can’t get enough of team celebrations.

Emily HF: Aaaaah. This is hard. But I’m going to have to say teammate interactions. The little things that show the relationships that get built off the competition floor. These handshake rituals between Hannah Vandenkolk and Allie Smith or Kennedy Green and Sophia Hyderally. This pep talk from Missy Reinstadtler.

Emily M: While I find skill shots amazingly impressive, my faves are always really candid moments on the floor. A series of photos that immediately comes to mind is the Cal beam rotation at Oregon State in 2019, right after Toni Ann Williams tore her Achilles. Emily HF did such a great job capturing all the emotions going through both teams: the hug from Isis Lowery, Milan Clausi overcome with emotion after her routine, the team joking around and keeping spirits high and a hug from Liz Crandall-Howell. Photos like these make us feel like we were there.   

Katherine: I like pictures that capture gymnasts mid-leap or skill; that moment lasts a split second, so the fact that the photographer can capture it is amazing. And of course, it reminds you how difficult it is what the gymnast is doing.

Mary Emma: I’m going to agree with Katherine on this one and say gymnasts that are mid-leap. I’m not a photographer, but I’d imagine these are the most difficult ones to capture based on how many bad ones we see in media.

Talitha: I love mid-leap photos too, but perhaps my favorite shots are bar transitions and releases. Gymnasts really seem to be flying.

What’s a picture that makes you laugh?

How about a picture that makes you tear up every time you see it?

What do you think is the most memorable moment to be captured by one of our photographers?

What picture do you think is the most beautiful?

Elizabeth: I don’t know about most beautiful, but I really like looking at this shot. I’m also a sucker for a good faux-portrait, like this one of Rachel Dickson with the low depth of field and vignetting.

Emily HF: Lexy Ramler’s front aerial on beam is a thing of beauty, and when it’s caught right at that middle point, her oversplit and extension are gorgeous. This and this stand out to me in particular. I especially love the first one in black and white; it really emphasizes the moment 

Emily M: Oh that’s tough. The editing Emily HF did on her UCLA at Oregon State photos is so gorgeous. I’m especially drawn to this Gracie Kramer shot. I’ll also never be over this Grace Glenn image from the 2018 national finals. Her leap is always stunning, but against that black backdrop? Heck yes.

Katherine: This shot of Maya Bordas’ floor choreography is stunning.

Mary Emma: It’s so hard to choose, but I’m going to go with this shot of Sophia Hyderally’s trademark scale on beam.

Talitha: Our talented photographers have taken a lot of stunning shots. The ones I like the most, however, are perhaps those that show cross-team friendship and respect. Like this one of Isis Lowery, consoling Toni-Ann Williams after her injury. Or this one of Margzetta Frazier and Missy Reinstadtler smiling at each other. It’s more than gymnastics, they seem to say.

Which gymnast would you say is the most photogenic? You’ve never seen a bad picture of this gymnast.

Elizabeth: There are a lot to choose from, but both of California’s Kyana George and Maya Bordas are stunning in their own right, making any shot Emily has taken of them great. I have to stop myself from using too many of them on our Instagram or for header images. Also, special shoutout to Navia Jordan, who never got the attention she deserved when she was at Centenary, but was an absolutely gorgeous gymnast.

Emily HF: If you know me at all you know my answer to this. It is literally impossible to take a bad picture of Lexy Ramler. I find myself having to toss pictures that I would use of other gymnasts in a heartbeat because I have so many better ones. 

Emily M: Definitely Milan Clausi, hands down. Sitting on the floor, working through beam choreography or just standing around, she always photographs well. My runner up is Norah Flatley.

Katherine: I’d have to go with an unknown gymnast called Kyla Ross. The form, the poses and the electric smile…none of it ever looks bad. 

Mary Emma: Lexy Ramler. Every picture I see of her has perfect form and toes pointed. I’m not sure if it’s possible to take a bad picture of her.

Talitha: Any gymnast with perfect form is photogenic to me. If I had to choose one, however, it would be Alexis Vasquez. Her lines and pointed toes are gorgeous, and I love her makeup-free style.

What’s a picture that has an interesting backstory?

Choose your favorite out of context picture—one that would be funny or confusing if you didn’t know what was going on.

READ THIS NEXT: CGN Roundtable: Questions About COVID and the 2021 Season

Article by Katherine Weaver, Emily Howell-Forbes, Elizabeth Grimsley, Mary Emma Burton, Talitha Ilacqua and Emily Minehart

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