View the entire gallery with 20+ portraits and all of the lifters in action here http://matthewcoughlin.com/kingofthebeach.html.
I was honored when my good friend, Chip Holston, contacted me to photograph his annual "King of the Beach" weightlifting contest that he hosts on Pensacola Beach, FL. After Chip and I spoke over the phone about the action shots he wanted me to get, I immediately thought "portraits" in the back of my mind. While the event took place, I virtually had no time at all to get portraits but I was determined and I made it happen. There was a 20 minute break between the Bench Press session and the Dead Lift session. In that 20 minutes, I had to setup my backdrop, softbox, background light, determine my exposure, and round up all the heavy lifters I could find. The first lifter to brave my lens was my one test shot and that was all I needed. One by one I sat every lifter down on a stool, had them close their eyes and listen to this very specific instruction I gave them... "Now your eyes are closed. I want you to envision yourself seconds before your last lift in the competition, you are about go in front of this giant crowd and show them all your maximum strength. Put yourself there, do you see it? (Then after about a 5 second pause) Now exhale, open your eyes, and look straight into my lens. Click! They get one shot at lifting that weight, so that is all I gave myself. One true, honest, intimate shot of that mental moment I tried to put them in. I am truly stoked at how these images turned out.
Go to http://matthewcoughlin.com/kingofthebeach.html to see all of the portraits and images from the competition.
If you are a lifter and would like to purchase your photo(s), please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.