Catherine’s Chair

This was the first shoot that I did with Catherine. We had never met and I was looking for a way to make starting to pose easy for her. The chair turned out to be a good idea. It was something she could work with instead of just standing there in space and trying to use only her body. We went on to make some pretty good stuff that day.

Driven, 2013

I told Catherine that what interests me the most about the sport of bodybuilding, figure and physique sports is the question “why?”


Pick up any muscle magazine or fitness magazine and you will find a publication full of “how” information.  There is no exploration at all of the Psyche or personality that provides the will and the drive to do what is needed in order to compete at a high level and to bring the body and the look that is needed.


What makes a beautiful and very, very fit woman want to put themselves through the inconvenient, strenuous and, in some wrongheaded cases, unhealthy regime needed to shed that last bit of fat or build that last ounce of muscle.


This question interests me not to attack the athletes or sport in any way! It interests me because I have always been interested in human behavior and what drives it… and I believe that it should be the first obvious question and the most important one asked, not only by a person viewing the sport of bodybuilding, but one participating.


I have seen the tremendous anxiety felt by those who believe their body is not as they would like it.  I have seen “jacked” men curse and throw things in disgust and women who could walk a five mile public beach in a bikini never seeing anyone even close to as fine as they are weep because they felt their body was not good enough!  This is very different than an intellectual admission that they could have done something better, but genuine anxiety.  Its more than just not doing as well as they like at the sport because it involves the image they have of who the are.  Why?  I feel that coming to an understanding of the psychological processes involved in where this comes from could greatly help combat these kinds of negative feelings.


Would this make one a better athlete?… or encourage them to take the sport more seriously, or less?  Could one enjoy the sport more if they understood their “why”… Would they be a happier, better person?  Could it even make the strenuous training and strict diet easier?


I started this blog mostly to be able to write a little bit about the photographs that I make in order to explore my “why”.  I know what kind of photographs I make and I also know how I make them.  What I do not know is “why”!  And I, somehow, believe that is the most important answer to find.  That is what art is about… bodybuildng, painting or photography… What are we trying to communicate about ourselves through our efforts??   I believe that everyone that has a passion has it for themselves.   I believe that it is an interesting exercise to ask “why?”

Catherine at the door, 2013

Top floor of an office building….torn apart.  Four shows into the bodybuilding season….with five more to go.

Its been a while since I posted.  I had become a bit burned out on things….looking for some direction.  I am not sure that I found it, but at least I am shooting again.  I guess I am looking for a doorway.  I seem to be at a sticking point.  I really want to move forward visually, but need to work to see where I will go.  Its more of a blind exploration for me than it is a calculated and planned expedition.  It’s always been that way and hasn’t changed.

Man with white T-shirt…Binghamton, NY

A special shout out to Mike Halsey…A great bodybuilder and promoter of shows in upstate NY.  This is not his picture.  But this one and many like it would not have been made without his help. 

If anyone is considering a bodybuilding competition or show and sees that Mike is the promoter…Enter or go!  He runs a class operation from top to bottom.


Catherine Aranda…Window, 2012

20th century film-noir influence.  This image is calling to me from Tarantino’s ‘From Dusk Till Dawn”.  Cheech’s character was actually my favorite, although it was only a bit role. 

I played with the cross process pre-set in curves and who knows what countless other adjustment layers for this one. 


Catherine Aranda…Binghamton, NY 2012

More metal,  More darkness.  Dirt and grunge.

When I first started working with figure athletes and fitness models they would look at me like I was a little bit off and with a large degree of  doubt when I suggested a location or had them climb onto something filthy and rusting.

I guess I should look at it as a compliment that those who I have been working with lately and who are a bit familiar with some of my pictures seem to become more comfortable once the scene gets “industrial”.

Cathy provided this location and it was an awesome one, but the machine was a bonus.  I think it is some kind of lathe.

Catherine Aranda, 31 Lewis Street…2012


Back to the power of black and white.  Breaking down the visual to the simple elements of light and darkness.  I was very glad that we had power in the building for my softbox.  I enjoy working in studios that aren’t studios.