All photos by Dean Bradshaw. Used with Creative Commons permission.
The last time we put the spotlight on the work of Los Angeles-based photographer and director Dean Bradshaw he opened our eyes to the interesting and imaginative world of the real-life superhero subculture. In this clever project, however, he wanted to bring our attention to the playful concept of weekend warriors past their prime who still lead active lifestyles. Fine art photographers looking to add humor to their conceptual work will do well to learn from this body of work!
In a two-part series, titled The Golden Years, our featured photographer follows the sporty stories of two elderly pairs: seniors who still have the moves on the hard court at 75, and two stylish, “elite female athletes” training for “the big fight.” Bradshaw says in his project description that the fun mood and playful concept are a response to the “tough” imagery we typically see in sports photography.
“After doing so many serious images of serious heroes, I wanted to turn that idea on its head. We’re bombarded with imagery of tough sports athletes from all the major brands, but rarely does anyone celebrate the weekend warrior.”
Both sets make use of humorous action scenes and quirky conceptual portraits, complete with sporty props and settings. It’s easy to see how Bradshaw met his goal for this series — both sets are beautifully styled, posed, and edited to create a totally different look and feel from the vibrant and energetic photos that typically come to mind whenever we speak of the sports depicted.
Aside from the concept, the other thing that stands out from The Golden Years is the great rapport Bradshaw built with the people he photographed. It’s not easy to get people into quirky poses, but here, we can see everyone had fun taking part in the project.