ESPN Body Issue
ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue is arguably one of the most buzzworthy issues of the entire year. Going on its ninth edition with the most recent publication earlier this month, we spoke to ESPN The Magazine's Director of Photography Karen Frank about the nine different covers.
Karen Frank: Our theme for this year’s Body issue was “Every Body Has a Story”. Our mission was to bring each athlete's body story to life visually, and this played into how they were photographed and who we chose to shoot them. The athletes come to the shoots ready to work hard, give it their all, and collaborate in creating extraordinary images. In this, the 9th edition of the Body issue, we set ourselves a challenge to look at the portfolio with fresh eyes. Keeping many of the photographers who have shot for the Body issue before, we added a lot of new voices to the mix. This resulted in 17 different photographers (half of whom were first-timers for Body) and 16 very distinct shoots.
Caroline Wozniacki photographed by Dewey Nicks
KF: Dewey has a lot of experience in shooting tennis, and we have long-admired his tennis imagery. He seemed a natural choice for this shoot; someone who could create a vivid, active, and intense portrait of Caroline Wozniakci.
Javier Baez photographed by Dylan Coulter
KF: Dylan has worked for ESPN and has shot many covers over the years. This was his first Body shoot and to that we added the challenge that the entire shoot had to be done on an iPhone 7+, with absolutely no safety net of back-ups on any other camera.
Ezekiel Elliot photographed by Kwaku Alston
KF: Kwaku’s image of Ezekiel Elliott under a waterfall was inspired, in part, by classic nudes shot by Herb Ritts and Irving Penn. The waterfall was fabricated in a parking lot in front of a photo studio in Dallas, on a steamy, hot summer day. It created a dynamic background with layers, reflection and texture, and also served in keeping Ezekiel cool and comfortable on set.
Michelle Waterson photographed by Mark Seliger
KF: It was 30 degrees with a mixture of snow and sleet on the day of our shoot. Michelle turned on her warrior mentality and Mark managed to capture this image in one of the few windows of time where the sun broke through.
Kirstie Ennis photographed by Peter Yang
KF: This was Peter's first Body shoot. His subject, Kirstie Ennis, the first veteran we have featured in Body, happened to be training in Joshua Tree for a future climb (it’s her goal to do the Seven Summits). Joshua Tree provided a stunning location for our shoot.
Julian Edelman photographed by Peggy Sirota
KF: Peggy has been a part of almost every Body issue we’ve done. We love her for the energy and the playful quality she brings to the images. She met her match in Julian who was up for doing everything, including leaping, skateboarding, and diving over foam fingers on a Los Angeles rooftop.
Joe Thornton + Brent Burns photographed by Ramona Rosales
KF: Ramona is another new-comer to Body. The idea for this image was to take the playoff beard to its extreme. We thought it would provide adequate coverage for us. We hadn’t counted on the wind!
Isaiah Thomas photographed by Walter Iooss
KF: We paired legendary sports photographer Walter Iooss with NBA Celtic’s superstar Isaiah Thomas. Being the smallest point guard in the league, our goal was to show Isaiah’s outsized strength, power and speed. Although Walter has photographed countless athletes over the years, this was the first time he'd photographed.
Nneka Ogwumike photographed by Mark Williams + Sara Hirakawa
KF: Mark and Sara have quite a few Body shoots and covers (Courtney Force, Venus Williams, Natalie Coughlin) under their belt. We shot Nneka on a rooftop basketball court in downtown Los Angeles on a hot Sunday afternoon in June. I love the cover image because it is strong and athletic while also being ethereal, and it captures Nneka’s beauty and grace.
Creative Director, Print + Digital: Chin Wang
Art Directors: Rami Moghadam, Eric Paul
Associate Art Directors: Luke Knox, Munehito Sawada, Linda Root Pouder
Senior Designer: Christopher DeLisle
Designer: Rebecca Carman
Director of Photography, ESPN The Magazine: Karen Frank
Director of Photography, Print + Digital: Tim Rasmussen
Deputy Photo Editors: Jim Surber, Nancy Weisman
Senior Photo Editor: Nick Galac
Contributing Photo Editor: Kristen Schaefer Geisler
Photographers: Dylan Coulter (1), Dewey Nicks (2), Kwaku Alston (3), Mark Seliger (4), Peter Yang (5), Peggy Sirota (6), Walter Iooss (7), Ramona Rosales (8), Mark Williams & Sara Hirakawa (9)
Editor In Chief: Alison Overholt