In a year that has seen the England Ladies rugby team win the World Cup and Team of the Year at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards, we thought it would be appropriate to post our photo of Southport RFC Ladies team.
Ladies rugby is a fast-growing sport in the UK and Lauren, Captain of the Soutport Ladies Senior team asked me to take a photograph that would illustrate an article that she was writing for The Southport Visiter, in which she wanted to kill off some of the stereotype images that people have about Ladies rugby. She wanted to put the point across that lady rugby players are no different to any other ladies.
My suggestion was to set up a shoot with a few of the players, showing them in the normal clothes they would wear for work or at home and then an identical pose, showing them in their rugby kit. To get the poese as close as possible, we would need to use “tethered shooting” where the camera is mounted on a tripod and linked by cable into Adobe Lightroom on my MacBook. That way, we could get the ladies into exactly the same pose as they had been in a few minutes before.
One of our favourite photographers is the American veteran, Annie Liebovitz. Her group shots of people are some of the best you will ever see and we both remembered a very striking shot that she had taken in 2001 for Vanity Fair of the Griffindor quidditch team about to go out and play in the first Harry Potter film. In that photograph, the team all looked very serious and, after Liz had got the Ladies into a similar pose, we tried some shots with the Ladies looking very serious. It just wasn’t them! So we went for a pose where they looked much happier and we knew we were in business.
Until the evening of the shoot, I hadn’t known that Faye was bringing her twin daughters along and that they too would be changing from normal clothes into rugby kit, but it was pure genius on her part.
The story was run by The Southport Visiter, along with the two photos.
Southport RFC now has a Senior Ladies team, an U18 Ladies team and an U15 Ladies team. Between the three teams, 7 of the players also play at county level for Lancashire and who knows when one of them will be the first Southport Lady to play for England?
Photograph taken 21st May 2014 with a Canon Eos 1Dx and a 24mm – 70mm lens set to 24mm. Exposure 1/250 second at f 11 using two Canon 600 ex rt Speedlites in Lastolite soft boxes and a wireless trigger. ISO 200.