We are excited to present the next installment of The Handsome Project. Each month we’ll showcase an amazing young photographer who blows our minds, shoots our stuff and is all together fantastic. Read on to see the rest of Amanda & Chris’ WAH photoshoot and interview…
What was the concept of the shoot?
Chris and I have worked together this year creating images focused on our pure love for the outdoors. When we came together to create some images for We Are Handsome, we were very conscious in our intentions to focus on using bold, saturated tones, as well as capturing and preserving the underlying core essence of the We Are Handsome brand. The sweeping beaches, sheltered coves and raw headlands surrounding Sydney proved the perfect backdrop against which to juxtapose dominant, physical lines with the vibrant tones and streamlined details of the swimwear pieces.
Tell us a bit about yourselves?
AB: I have been involved in sport since the age of 3 and have always had a passion for healthy and active living. My background in gymnastics and athletics led me to find pole vault, where I represented Australia at the World University Games in Belgrade in 2009 and the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010. Chris and I actually met because of athletics!
Following the games in Delhi I had plans to prepare for the Olympic Games in London. In 2011 I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue, which forced me to retire from pole vault. This turned my life around and for a long while I felt lost.
In the last year I have really focused on living the most happy, healthy and active life possible. A year ago I found yoga (a form of exercise that could help my chronic fatigue symptoms), which has really helped me in my transition into normal life after being an elite athlete for so many years. I have also taken the time to educate myself about nutrition and food and have discovered how important this is for our health and wellbeing.
I am now a pole vault coach at the Western Australian Institute of Sport. I absolutely love it, it allows me to pass on my knowledge and see athletes master their skill and fulfill their dreams in sport. For my own well being I love keeping active and I try to do as many different sports and exercises as I can. I am involved in running the Perth Nike Run Club every week, which I combine with yoga, strength training, bike riding, surfing, gymnastics and anything else that comes my way.
I really believe variety in life is essential, and this applies to everything including food, exercise, mental stimulation and social experiences. We need a balance and I try to channel this through my pictures on my instagram and facebook accounts. The work Chris and I have done in recent months has really captured some amazing moments.
CL: I had a pretty active childhood, you would have found me on the monkey bars, the tennis court, rugby field or on the athletics track. I found a talent for running at high school and was lucky enough to compete at national level for a few years. I dabbled in rugby for a few seasons, but I returned to running after getting belted by overweight forwards a few more times than I enjoyed.
I traversed the traditional route after school and studied finance and accounting at university. I worked in the corporate world for close to a decade, but eventually left it in the rear view mirror to pursue full time commercial, advertising photography. Creating something that matters and chasing things you love ultimately proved more important to me.
The athletics community is fairly tight-knit in Australia, I met up with Amanda earlier this year to collaborate and decided to work together long-term to build a platform to help and inspire others. I love her positive attitude to everything, and it’s been an easy partnership.
What is your photography history Chris?
CL: I had my start in photography at an early age. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been surrounded by cameras. I was born in the 80’s, we were the last of the film generation, long before the internet had arrived and mobile camera technology was the norm. I carried my camera everywhere, before you could be labelled a trendy hipster. I found I always had a point-and-shoot lying at the bottom of my track bag and would snap candids at the running track, eventually progressing to the competition arena. Many of my friends were sponsored athletes, and I began shooting images off the beaten path, travelling to remote locations with the specific intention to chase and create unique and captivating images. My work began being published in print and online, and a number of shoe and apparel companies began noticing my work.
I dabbled on the internet in the late 90’s, I taught myself how to code at the age of 11. The advent of social media, mobile communication and web 2.0 have been powerful vehicles with which to transport my images and voice across the globe. The raw image will always make my heart beat faster, and I’ve always been big on producing and sharing interesting and unique content, and helping others in the industry.
What makes you tick?
AB: Being around wonderful people. My family and friends give me energy and make me happy. If you are surrounded by positive, motivating and inspirational people it is really contagious and you have no other option but to feel amazing.
CL: I love the collaborative and the creative process. I’m a strong advocate of shooting personal work, images that you’re passionate about, with no underlying agenda, client or creative directive. Everyone owns a camera and is a photographer these days, and it’s an amazing time for the industry, but being unique will set you apart from everyone else in the industry and lets you stand out from the crowd.
Where to next?
AB: Chris and I have a great friendship and we really enjoy working together. There are definitely plans to continue our work and to just keep discovering new and exciting concepts. Each time we come together I feel like our images are better than the time before so I can’t wait to see what the future holds!
I am also currently developing a website with my partner to share my knowledge and experience of health and exercise. Chris’ images will definitely be a centerpiece and these will be combined with a blog and compilation of food, fitness, wellbeing and motivation. I want to show people that healthy and active living doesn’t need to be boring and that it can be achievable through simple changes.
Photography: Chris Lew
Model: Amanda Bisk