The Life of Art. The Art of Running.
I believe the thing that makes a city truly beautiful is the unique interaction between people and place. So when I first heard about the Lululemon Edmonton 10K race I was intrigued with the visual of 5,000+ people charging across the high level bridge. That would make for an amazing photo and a key shot I had to get.
I wasn’t hired or paid to photograph the race, which is ok because having the freedom to roam and “get” into the authentic flow of the moment can have its rewards. For me the art of life and living as an artist provides an opportunity to elevate experience, to reshape energy and to take it to higher levels.
A lot of mental preparation went into the Edmonton 10K shoot. For several weeks leading up to the race I thought about weather, the time of day, i.e. morning light, shot angles, and hyper focal distances for the 2 cameras/lenses I planned on using and how all of this would impact the quality of light, depth of field and other shooting possibilities. All of this for just one shot.
When it comes to turning photography into art the key word is interaction. The artist and the work they create are inseparable and I think that’s what makes the magic in the photos I take. Friends describe me as a Ninja Paparazzi. I move around, sprint, chase, peddle, squat, lunge, crawl and even climb on top of stuff to get memorable and interesting shots. Once I’m in flow state I can’t stop shooting.
For the three days leading up to the Edmonton 10K, my wife and I shot an Indian wedding to help a friend out. I love Indian weddings, the people, the children, the celebration and ceremony, the colours, turmeric baths, music and food – all of it is pure joy and love. But the shoot was a last minute thing and based on a fully invested and physical shooting technique, it proved to be very exhausting. I was slightly daunted by the task of having to archive, edit and publish over 5,000 wedding images. (see more of the wedding here: https://stevencsorba.smugmug.com/Praneeka-Anish-Wedding/Indian-Wedding/ )
When I woke up Sunday morning, I reminded myself of the single shot I had hoped to get but also of the beautiful danger of getting into flow and taking too many shots.
Would people even care about my photos? They already hired some talented shooters to capture that day. What if I can’t stop shooting. Where will the time come from to edit if flow takes over and I get 1,000’s of keepers of amazing people experiencing their own state of flow. All of this shit was racking my brain. Plus coffee. Was Dacapo or Credo open that early?
My strategy to “re-charge” and step-up was simple, stand in the middle of the bridge and face the energy of 5,000 people charging right at me, start taking shots and see what happens next.
To become a part of the energy of the race I also knew I had to run – something I love to do. As the first lead runners hit the bridge deck I started to take a few establishing shots. As they got closer, I sprinted ahead of them as well as the Lululemon pace car to figure out what my next shots would be.
On many prior occasions like at November Project Canada workouts, I’ve stood right in front of a pack of runners and let them run right at me as I shoot, hoping that I don’t get tackled. But based on past experiences this might prove to be a bit dangerous. Me vs 5,000 runners, not very good odds so I climbed up the guard-rail wire ropes of the bridge, leaned over the crowd of runners and started to take single handed shots as they passed underneath me.
Friends as well as people I didn’t really know where calling out my name, 100’s of runners hooting and hollering having the time of their life. Like a moving rave, it was pure joy running underneath me. My “one” shot was now turning into 100’s of un-calculated shots.
That was a thrill, but I couldn’t stop thinking about all those wedding photos to edit and if I kept shooting this running party I’d easily have 1,000’s of more shots to manage. I couldn’t stop shooting. The energy was too amazing and I instantly realized that the very essence and beauty of the Indian wedding – the celebration of family, pure joy and colour, had found its way into this tribe and onto the high level bridge.
I knew I was in flow. The life of art had taken over.
See the complete set of high resolution images here: https://stevencsorba.smugmug.com/Edmonton-10K-LULU-Run/
For the rest of the race I positioned myself at the south end of the bridge and basically chased people with my gear. Sprinting with 2 cameras, one sporting a heavy 200mm-400mm F4 telephoto lens was a bit crazy, but I love to run and sprint along side the runners. I actually use my body as a “telephoto lens” to get as close to the action as possible and shoot wide angle. I was able to use the longer telephoto lens to get the next wave of runners coming onto the bridge. I didn’t really plan this but the shots I was getting where amazing and from two completely different perspectives. It’s the reward of flow state as well as trusting your experience, skill and fitness.
The running aspect also serves as an excellent gateway toward experiencing flow. It's probably one of the oldest activities that humans enjoy. You begin to lose yourself in the movements, the breathing and even the passage of the landscape around you until it becomes something that is almost a part of you.
As I was shooting away it was amazing to see so many people in flow state as they ran together. Not hundreds but thousands of people running, each for their very own reason.
Some where there to win the race, others to simply run with their friends and be a part of something special, to create memories to talk about and share. Others where trying to get a PR or to achieve a fitness goal they trained for like trying to just finish the 10K course. And in the department of motvation, others cheered like crazypants with unlimited high fives, provided leadership and motivation and even paced runners throughout the course with incredible enthusiasm. It was a full spectrum of whys and even a fuller spectrum of colour.
What struck me the most was something I never anticipated – the diversity of runners. From some of the most competitive and fit athletes in the country to young children with their grand parents, so many groups of besties, so many moms and dads pushing strollers.
What tied them all together was the flow of joy. It didn’t matter whether you where an elite athlete or just a mom, for this race the fabric of joy was woven all across that bridge. It tied everyone together in a harmonious interaction between the body, mind and spirit and its environment.
On this day the rewards of flow and the art of running offered a new perspective of inclusivity and the essence of being alive.
I was so happy to be there.
Enjoy the pics.
Re-experience the day. See the complete set of high resolution images. 500 plus images. Over 100 hours of time has been invested to individually correct and artistically enhance each image. All uploaded in high resolution format https://stevencsorba.smugmug.com/Edmonton-10K-LULU-Run/
Also, please become a patron of the arts and support my Patreon page. Think of it as buying me a cup of "creative" coffee each month so I can have the freedom to capture the unique things that make community strong and memories everlasting, to make cool art and document history unfolding in an artist's unique way. Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/csorba