Daniel Keatings: Olympic Hopeful 2012

Photograph ©Daniel Lewis 2011

I recently shot a lovely assignment in Grantham (Leicestershire), birthplace to both Sir Isaac Newton and Margaret Thatcher. It is also home to a clean energy farm: Beech Tree Farm, in the heart a small village, called Melton Mowbray.  The farm is predominantly powered by a single wind turbine, housed on one of its fields and built by Opus Energy,  which is a primary sponsor of young British Olympic hopeful Daniel Keatings, who could be one to watch in the Gymnastics category for the London 2012 Olympics.  Daniel was with us a for a short while in the middle of this field, posing for our photo shoot.

My job was to create an image featuring Daniel in an appropriate setting that would satisfy both the client (Opus Energy) but also the various editorial picture desks, to illustrate the story.  What we had to work with was:  Daniel, dressed in red, an infinite sea of rolling green hills, a huge wind turbine and a gymnastics pommel horse.  We also had some pretty dreary weather that had come up with us, it seemed, from London.  Typically, Sod’s Law dictated that we chose the one day that fog blanketted the entire field, and even more typically, cleared up just as we finished the shoot. Sometimes though you just have to accept that there are some things that are totally out of one’s control, and in fairness I think the misted out turbines look eerily dramatic, especially with Daniel’s artistic pose on the pommel, in striking red attire, which brought him up clearly against the background.

Time was limited, not only by the 90 minute window in which we had Daniel, but also in that we had to produce high quality stills and video simultaneously. Add to that the freezing cold conditions in which poor Daniel had to wear next to nothing whilst holding onto the handle-bars on the pommel, with a fractured finger!! He was a true pro though and didn’t complain once with all that was asked of him.  So the team worked quickly to adjust the lighting a little here, a little there, to good effect I think.  His strength was phenomenal.  We had to get him to hold a position a couple of times, for the stills, and time after time he maintained a seemingly impossible stance with his legs pointing horizontally and his back arched up to the sky, whilst I clicked away as many times as I could to gain the winning image.

I have to say I had an awful lot of fun shooting this and the great team of people we had, all pulling together for a winning result, was a big part of that.  Hopefully we managed to capture a striking image that everyone, most importantly the client, will be happy with.  I wish Daniel all the best at the Olympics; a nice lad and an extraordinary talent that I’m sure will do the business next year.

I hope to publish the stunning video shot by Andreas Neophytou which is a lovely piece of film to partner the images.

Click here to read Daniel Keatings’ own account of the shoot in Melton Mowbray.

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