(Puedes leer este post en español: https://www.archerphoto.eu/sesion-nocturna-con-elena-lopez-benaches-plata-olimpica-en-rio-2016/)
It is possible that taking many photos and writing sometimes seems like much more work than is worth doing. But it is also true that sometimes you build things without realizing it. I had wanted to take pictures of rhythmic gymnastics for some time. But I do not have too many contacts in the sector, so I left it as a wish that had been left pending. And one day there is the opportunity to take pictures of Elena López Benaches. Perhaps the name, does not ring a bell. But she is an Olympic medalist: with the Spanish team she achieved silver medal in Rio de Janeiro (the Equipaso, that’s how they are called). Of course, my doubts were between zero and none. We warned Nadia Alba to help us with makeup, hair and a little assistance in costumes, and she came with her brother, Salva, a classic dancer, who agreed to collaborate as well.
Interrogating Elena López Benaches
Curiosity moves me, so I asked her many things during the session, even though she has a very extensive and well-documented Wikipedia page .Elena has had an ankle injury from which she is recovering during this year of rest from the competition. She was on vacation in Valencia – she lives and trains regularly in Madrid, but she’s from Turís, a Valencian town), so we took photos here, in the capital of Turia. But I asked her about life in Turís, because in her hometown she even has a street named after her and even the municipal gym is dedicated to her. “The truth”, she confesses, without an apex of arrogance “is that in the town they behave very well with me”. It’s funny because almost never get such remarkable recognitions in life. But it seems that “not being a prophet in your land” is not something that affects Elena.
“I’m still not 100%”, she explains when we are preparing some plans. But the elasticity, the precision and the capacity is incredible. Normally, when doing jumps and pirouettes, there is a factor of luck for the pose to go well. It is not the case. It does not fail a single time, but when she sees herself in the photo, she becomes extremely self-critical. “In that pic I do not have the foot completely OK”. And it’s not that position it’s wrong, it’s that it’s not perfectly stretched. In addition, she excuses himself for not being able to hold for long in positions that she performs perfectly and that are almost impossible to perform. The flexibility is amazing, but his naturalness in the pose is even better.
Rhythmic gymnastics in a deserted Valencia
Our idea of the session was to make different looks for an almost deserted city on a mid-August night. The idea was not to mount large sets with flashes, but to capture, especially the movement, and the contrast with some places in the city, to look for the urban texture, instead of the coldness of a studio. With the LEDs combined with the streetlights of the city we were slightly low in light, but we did get the desired atmosphere. For this session, Nadia Alba took care of the hair and makeup. “Normally we have to take care of ourselves,”Elena explains to me, when I ask her about the sponsors and the support they have.However, he confesses to me, the atmosphere with the team is very good. “We leave all the negative issues out,” she says, very sure.
Another aspect that we comment on is how such a visual sport does not have a greater, and better media difussion. They had a TV ad, with Freixenet (an important cava company in Spain), that was seen and well valued. There is even a very interesting little documentary ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnjX5xD8f28 ), but rhythmic gymnastics do not have a big pull. “There was a lot of glitter on the set,” she recalls, “and it was very uncomfortable, because it got everywhere.” Sometimes in pursuit of the image professionals press a little more than necessary.
I’m Sergi Albir, professional photographer. If you need photos you can send me a message to firstname.lastname@example.org or a Whatsapp to +34 644459753 today. I make photos, videos and contents both for the Internet and for other media.