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When my training fell apart due to work overload this past spring, I was adrift with no goals or focus to get me back on track. Somehow, I found a local photography studio whose work I really liked and developed a goal of an entirely different sort: to create the kind of 'fitness art' (for lack of a better term) that I've always admired, to display the kind of body that I had always secretly wanted. I resolved to make myself the best that I could be. After my initial consultation and setting the date for July 31st, there was no turning back. I realized fairly quickly, a bit to my embarrassment, that aesthetic goals work for me. Previously, my performance based goals have failed to motivate me. In some ways, I think they were actually counter-productive, bringing out a fear of failure, and I suspect I generally ended up sabotaging my attempts at training so that I ended up 'declining to compete' rather than trying and failing. But this, this really worked. Suddenly I had all the motivation I needed. I didn't want to waste this chance.

The weeks leading up to the shoot were lots of fun. As the date got closer, I spent hours planning what to bring with me - clothing options, gear options... I agonized over which bike to bring (feeling like I was choosing a favorite child) and thought about music choices. I wondered, endlessly, what it would be like. I've never been comfortable with having pictures taken of me, but somehow I was sure it would all be OK this time. With a couple weeks to go I tried a spray tan and was amazed at how much of a difference it made (now I know why the Oxygen models are all so tanned - I swear it takes off about ten pounds). I stopped riding outdoors, not willing to risk any unsightly bruises or scrapes. Oddly, I was only excited about my strict diet and trying to drop weight in that last week. I booked off two days from work: a prep day (another spray tan! - which renders you practically immobile and definitely not presentable for about 5 hours or so) and the actual day of the shoot.

I spent that morning strangely calm and content, importing CDs into iTunes and putting together my 'happy' music mix as instructed. Although I didn't end up cutting quite as much weight as I had planned, I looked and felt great. I packed a bag with my preplanned clothing and filled the truck with dumbbells, my cross bike, and miscellaneous fitness gear. At the last minute, I threw some extra stuff in 'just in case'. I had no idea what to expect, and my biggest goal at this point was just to have fun with it, and not worry about the pictures. Once Scott and I arrived at the studio, it was all about me: I didn't even have to help bring all the stuff in but just hang out and wait while it was all unloaded. I couldn't help but get a bit nervous: pictures! My nemesis.

But with the very first shot, it was amazing! One of the best and most fun experiences I've ever had. I reveled in me, and only me. It was all I dreamed of, and more. We started out with some trampoline shots, me jumping randomly and losing all fear of the camera (no time to think about it). Rodney showed us the first few shots and wow! I was amazed. I could hardly believe it was me in the view finder, and I realized that there would be no problem with the pictures. After seeing that, I could really relax and have fun. I got to play supermodel! Scott was there the whole time with support and suggestions, and a camera to record some of the fun: 

We spent a fair amount of time on 'normal' poses before moving to the bike/ fitness portion of the shoot. We got some totally awesome shots that I'm really excited about. The joy of digital photography: we'd get a quick view of each set of shots to see how they looked before moving on to the next - or using the quick previews to come up with new ideas for better or different shots. Scott put down his camera after a bit to simply enjoy it all with me, and ended up helping with lighting or shooting mist at me, so no preview pictures of the fitness shots.

The day was simply wonderful. Tomorrow, we're headed back to the studio to look at the proofs and I am so excited to see how things turned out. I can hardly imagine it - I'm actually looking forward to a slide show of me.

What a wonderful thing to do!  The shot you posted looks amazing....it would be great to see some more of your favorites.  Motivation is the key to consistency!!
Deanna, great to see that you found another rewarding way to motivate your training goals and fitness focus!  Awesome that you met your goals and enjoyed this new experience.

It was certainly a new experience for me, but I loved it and would definitely recommend it to anyone. I guess I should clarify that by saying I would recommend Eve Studios to anyone (women only - sorry guys - unless you're looking for baby pictures).

I was a bit sad a few days after the shoot that it was all over; but I realized, and am still realizing, that it isn't over. There's the obvious continuation in checking out the proofs yesterday, placing an order, and waiting breathlessly for the prints to arrive, but in a less overt way this has changed the way I look at myself. I'm confident in myself and can finally see the beauty in my body even while acknowledging I'm not perfect. I suppose I'm more forgiving of myself. And along with that comes an enduring sense of motivation and desire to take care of my body - eat well, exercise hard, and enjoy a life well lived (well, we'll see - so far I'm six days in... but it feels good, and lasting).

Phew - time to shake off the philosophical ramblings! It was fun. Pure, unadulterated fun.

We went back to the studio yesterday night to see the proofs. Rodney does an awesome job of presentation - he turned down the lights, left us alone (in the guise of getting some canned drinks) and started a slideshow set to Roxette's "She's got the Look". And, well, I did! There were some awesome shots, and it was agonizing in some cases to pick which ones made the grade and which ones got pitched. In the end, we decided on twenty album shots and two prints for the wall - one for the gym (fun movement shot) and one for the hallway above the stairs (on the bike looking totally spent - a good perspective, we thought, since this will be the first thing you see anytime you leave the gym).

We're also going to be getting a few shots for Scott to use on the site, so they will show up here or elsewhere on the site eventually but for now you'll all have to exercise patience and wait just like we are...

I thought I'd chime in here to say that I enjoyed being a passive participant in Deanna's photo shoot.  The end result is amazing - I can't wait for the 40 x 30 inch print that we ordered for our gym to arrive.

A quick note about Roxette's "She's Got the Look":  After one of the best races of my track & field career, as I was standing on the podium feeling pretty good about life, "She's Got the Look" was blaring in the background as my name was announced.  Later that day at an afterparty where we all celebrated the acheivements of the day a really cool remix of the song was played, and it kind of became my unofficial, private, happy song.  Besides, everyone knows that the best music ever produced was late '80's synth-pop.

Deanna, you're more than welcome to co-opt the song - I didn't mention my 'connection' with the song as it was playing during the photo review because that moment was all about you, but I enjoyed the connection between past and present.  Now I'm looking forward to the near future - when the final prints arrive.
Hey guys, just stumbled upon this post in my unemployed-and-slightly-bored state. It made me laugh out loud...well, the idea of "She's Got the Look" being Scott's happy song anyway.

Deanna: This is the coolest thing! What an amazing idea! I have a triathlon calendar and stacks of magazines to motivate me, but why shouldn't ME motivate me? It might seem narcissistic at first, but what a beautiful way to capture the youth and health that you work so hard at. I love your confessions of aesthetic motivation, too. It's something I struggle with a lot. I try to go for PR's and age group awards and such, but really, how I feel AND look play as big a role. I cannot WAIT to see the shots. What an awesome idea.

I pore over official race photos (with their ugly company watermarks and inflated prices), so why not get a private consultation one day? OK. I'll stop now. I'm getting a little obsessed with this idea!
Jen, I've got the CD...and the single.

Save your pennies - the photoshoot was worth every one.  I'm sure you'd enjoy it.
Rodney sent us one of the proofs today for final approval, and he's given me permission to post it here too!  This is the pic that will go in the gym - it will be full poster size (something like 30 or 40 inches long; I've forgotten the exact measurements):


Jen, I've got the magazines (and a great MTB calendar called Feminine Frames) too, and honestly that's where a lot of the idea behind the shoot came from. I love those fitness art shots, and finally felt good enough (or brave enough) to do it myself. And I love the finished product - I was kinda scared going in that I'd get the pictures back and think "hmmm, perhaps I'll just frame this shot from the calendar instead..." But finally I can see that I look 'like that' too. Here`s the second proof hot off the presses... this pic will go in the hallway heading downstairs from the gym.

And Scott: you are more than welcome to keep "She's got the Look" as your happy song - as long as "she" is me.

I love this one Deanna. It looks like something from "Inside Triathlon," a magazine I've had a subscription to this year. I like the sense of fatigue you get from it, yet there is a power in it too. Thanks for posting!
Thanks Jen! This is one of my favorites too - in part because it's all 'me' - I just went to that after a set of riding shots, taking a break. I thought it might look cool. And obviously Rodney agreed since we then did a whole series in that pose as well.
I think it's a great fit for when you're leaving the gym, it gives me a sense of completion and that awesome tired feeling when you've given everything in the workout/ ride. I like your thoughts of power as well.
Parts of the photoshoot were very physical and tiring (like holding my bike up above my head, arms bent, for what felt like forever, for some for back shots). In one section of shots on the bike Rodney told me to look 'fatigued' - I immediately went into that slack faced stare we all know so well - he was quite impressed!
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