Christian Randolph's photograph of Ava Cota got an Award of Excellence in Portrait category at the recent CPOY 70. Catching Photo of Yours (CPOY) is a new CPOY Blog feature that gives photographers a chance to share the emotional and technical aspects of making their award-winning photograph.
This portrait of Ava Cota was shot as a daily assignment during my internship for the Flint Journal and the result of a subject who thankfully was flexible as I came up with portrait ideas following a general theme on the fly.
My goal from the outset of the assignment was to create an image that was more than 'just' a photograph of a dancer. Because of Ava's skill, I knew that an image of Ava dancing would likely be visually strong enough to stand on its own but that also sparked a motivation to bring something else to the composition of the picture. Not so much to add complexity for complexity's sake, but because I felt the more visually interesting a subject you start with, the more energy as a photographer you have to invest to not just be making a snapshot of the cool thing in front of your camera.
With about an hour to scout beforehand, my focus was to find roof access and make a frame that incorporated Ava jumping and her hometown's skyline but I had no luck. Several roofs looked like prime locations but all inquiries to actually shooting there were met with polite deflections or responses of, "the person in charge of that has gone for the day." So I had nothing with five minutes until the start of the portrait.