Cultural Portrait Documentation | Skydivers

So a while back, while intensely reading my Rangefinder and bumming that I couldn’t go to WPPI this year, I thought about my biggest and closest community, colleges and crazies. I came across several articles that were incredibly inspiring.  They always seem to pop up again and again.  The greats, those photographers who did something simple, set a trend, preserved a section in time of our heritage, of culture itself. You know what I am talking about, the greats like Ansel Adams for outdoor photography and the like.

The other articles that catch my attention are the projects.  Where photogs actually think of something to do as opposed to just chasing, working, following.  A project, an idea, something to sink one’s imagination into.

So, I’ve come up with my own.  To document the best and most colorful of my biggest community, skydiving. Normally, I would only post this on my highly energetic Event Documentation Site, The Harry Parker.com, but as I stretch my legs in the area of portraiture, I feel this must be mentioned on this blog. Who knows, some of you out there just might be interested in this crazy culture called skydiving or actually be interested in having this service.

Learning to work with people, lighting, posing, etc. is a very large undertaking and it’s ability to serve many aspects in photography is limitless.  Simple lighting, mobile, easy set up, breakdown, go anywhere portraiture is usable in so many different ways.

I must say, it’s a different world when someone actually commissions your work, but having to chase someone, beg them to take their picture, what a job.  Taking a picture of a skydiver randomly as they look over their shoulder is almost easy.  Actually having them pay attention?  next to impossible.  Skydivers are made up of pure chromosome 11, ADHD in its most classic forms.  Time will tell if my quest, my project has enough merit to attract the brightest and best in the sport who will grant me just a minute to forever capture who they are as a skydiver, now, in this time period.  I am quite thankful this group gave me a shot.  It’s times like these when people, allow you, to take their picture that I feel somehow transported.  It’s like I am actually doing something and wonder what it was like so long ago when the masters had someone sitting in front of a camera attempting to create and paint with light.

These shots were taken in Z-Hills Florida at a skydiving center aptly name Skydive City, a place where I cut my teeth in the sport more the a decade ago.  The jumpers in these pictures are CReW Dogs.  These jumpers thrive in opening their parachutes very high and then flying together, linking up in the sky by wrapping hands and feet in the lines of each others canopies.  Jumps can last as long as ten minutes.  That’s ten minutes of pure adrenaline.

CReW, as it is affectionately called, is made up of some of the most interesting and cross culture people I know.  It’s a hard breed of skydiver.  There are a lot of hero’s out there, but its a slim cross section that would even think about engaging in this activity.  They are a tough breed and have no problem showing off victory scars of jumps gone wrong in the past.  And above all, they are like family.  No where else in skydiving will one find a group that takes care of their own more then in CReW, they are a community unto themselves.  So, I thought it best to start here.

About 50 CReW dogs showed up for an event at the center.  I set up around sunset, had about 20 mins to set up using whatever I had and could find, figure out a little light and it was time.  These guys had just landed from a night 16-way diamond attempt.  Yes, jumping at night running into each other with their parachutes.  The attempt was highly successful and they were all incredibly juiced with adrenaline.  I had some helpers and I grabbed them right as they walked in and took these shots.  This is as raw as it gets.

Thanks for taking a look!

The out the Harry Parker Photography Gallery for all the photos, over 100.

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HP - March 23, 2011 - 7:07 PM

Thank you very much! Great to jump with you both. Really miss everyone!

christina parker brown - March 9, 2011 - 4:20 PM

Awesome photos and great ideas!

Don & Sarah Bromley - February 28, 2011 - 6:50 PM

Harry,
These are just great…..looking forward to more of your postings.

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