WHAT ATHLETES CAN TEACH US: COTY TARR
Being a top creative isn't too different from being a competitive athlete. Years of training, an immense amount of discipline and perseverance, the drive to be a part of the elite. WNW Member #3262 Coty Tarr recently took a trip to Lake Placid, NY to follow the Team USA bobsled crew as they prepared for the upcoming World Cup competitions. We spoke to Coty about what we as creatives, can learn from athletes.
I recently took a trip to Lake Placid, NY to follow the Team USA Bobsled crew as they prepared for the upcoming World Cup competitions taking place all over Europe. In 2014, I photographed Jazmine as a personal project after the Sochi Olympics. We stayed in touch, and I convinced her to let me come to Lake Placid and photograph them training next time they were there.
I'm usually the portrait photographer tweaking all my lighting set ups, traveling with a crew, and planning out each shot. This project was very different for me - there was simply no room for such a production. They were on a very tight training schedule, and I couldn't interfere. I had to give them space, and make sure I didn't interrupt. By using a fly-on-the-wall approach, I had the opportunity to sit back and witness what a truly blue-collar sport bobsled really is. From loading and trucking their sleds up mountains themselves, to changing the blades - they do it all. Hitting speeds of over 70mph, at 2,400ft elevation and below-zero wind chills, this training session was no walk in the park.
WHAT ATHLETES CAN TEACH US:
Consistency and dedication.
I think this is exactly what we creatives could learn from athletes. I understand this can be one of many sports cliches, but I think it perfectly crosses over to our world.
If you don’t train…you don’t get better.
Simple as that. And the same should go for us - we should be flexing our creative muscles day in and day out, whether we want to or not. When you have down time, work on personal projects, re-work that old photo you took years ago. Creatives are plagued by confidence issues - I battle this constantly. Bottom line is…I’m confident when I’m creating, I’m not confident when I’m not creating.
Get back up.
If athletes don’t get back up every time they fall, or they didn’t hit that mountain every damn day whether they felt like it or not, they certainly wouldn’t be world class athletes. One thing professional athletes have going for them, is they are insanely consistent and dedicated. Their careers depend on it. We should be the same.
Be the best at what you do. Be world class.
Out of the thousands of shots I took, I think these shots represent the story I was trying to tell. Each with a different yet cohesive style. The docu-style showing the hard work that's done unloading the sleds, the landscape shots show the beautiful yet rugged atmosphere they work in, and the portraits showing the character of each athlete.