Photography Club.


Zade - Aerial.

Zade – Aerial. © Austen Blakemore.


Mat had mentioned that his mum knew a photographer (Austen Blakemore) and that he was currently doing a camera club, which involved him teaching students how to use their cameras. In that process they would shoot a range of different subjects to get used to the different situations and camera settings needed. They had previously done a BMX photoshoot and Parkour seemed the next best thing for the photo club. I suspect Mat had a hand in wanting it to be Parkour based and persuading it to be at the park. With that said, the session was a Tuesday evening at the Parkour park. It seemed to be too short notice for much of the Nottingham community, with many giving it a miss due to the day and time. It was set to happen at 7pm, so much later than usual training sessions, on the day I was unsure if to attend myself due to body tiredness. It had been ages since we’ve had a photographer come to shoot a session, as it’s usually all done by ourselves. Mat, Luke and Adam were out and there were a couple of other guys there too. With Austen and his merry band of photography students arriving later by car and taxi’s.

It was crazy to see so many people with cameras, all in one place taking photos as we moved and trained. It was like some kind of camera inception, it makes you feel almost famous with our own paparazzi entourage snapping away. Like with most photographers that come to take images of Parkour and Freerunning, the first thing they want to ask and want to take images of is flips, on and off things and the higher the better. As that is what (in their eyes) makes great photos, as well as them being aesthetically pleasing to the eye too. This will always get a grown or a sigh from true practitioners, some that can do such flashy movements often eye roll due to it not being the forte of our training. It’s as bad as being branded roof jumpers to the general public who don’t fully understand what Parkour is, due to seeing and hearing only what the media has branded it as. It felt awkward at first to know what to practise, as usually when a photographer is out we wait for direction from them, rather than being randomly shot.


Mat - Lache.

Mat – Lache.


From personal experience with my own photography and many years of shooting Parkour, I can understand whole heartedly that appeal to shoot flips and the more daredevil aspect of training. The gaps and drops add a certain dimension to the movement and if you throw in there a flip, it takes on a new element and seems even more amazing due to it being something not everyone can do. Though, it may seem difficult to take images in the beginning. Unaware of what people are capable of or how to go about shooting it. As I’m sure Austen would agree with after spending an evening with us, but once you get an idea of how people move and where you can be during the movements, you can get quite create and produce some nice results. As practitioners we always want the photos to depict the gaps as being as big and long as possible, so low and wide angles work the best, even ones which show gaps as being bigger due to a certain angle. The reason why practitioners make such good photographers is because they know the ins and outs of training and the movements. How people will move, how they will look while in the air and fro doing it themselves it makes it easier to shoot, the same for the timing of the shots too.

While giving some quick examples of movements, doing a running catleap with a climb up. Austen mentioned how quickly everything is done, one blink and you’ll miss it. Even the most basic of movements (to practitioners) like doing a dash vault over a waist height wall amazes people. It’s funny, as over time we forget how amazing things that we do are to non practitioners. I think it’s the appeal and draw to wanting to try it as well, once people get over the fact of how hard it looks or may be but then realize just how rewarding even the most basic of movements are. I mean, we too saw these same movements as incredible in the early days of training and long before we had even begun to jump. It fast becomes the norm and not as impressive over time and is a natural part of what we do like walking or crawling. The dash then led to some shots of Mat posed on the wall to try and create a strange perspective shot. Then Austen asked about how I would shoot and the explanation of how Parkour people take photos (as mentioned above) and to try and get some of the group to be less afraid to be close to the action, of walls when something is landing or taking off them, even getting underneath, while jumping.


Zade – Precision. © Chris Davis.


As you can see above once that happened, those classic images you get within Parkour this started to happen. There were plenty of other portraits and general candid shots being taken. Many taking shots while people swung around poles, vaulted the walls and railings. Then it was time to move for some flips into the golf bunkers, the classic airborne images of people flying in the air. The ones who could flip did various ones into the bunker while the photography group took photos using the remaining light they had. Some of the shots came out really good, with the sun setting and the silhouetted images of the flips. It reminds me, I really need to invest in more lenses to get a different feel to my shots and maybe use more lighting rigs and such equipment, but then it’s more things to carry around and spend time experimenting with and setting up. From seeing others work, I have found that I am engrained in my own shooting style, which is hard to change and shoot in different ways compared to the norm. It has been an eye opener for taking photos, and was great to meet and see what the other photographers produced and had captured of the group.

Austen admitted it was one of the hardest things he has had the pleasure of shooting and had felt he had failed to capture an image to his own top quality standards. This disheartened him and joked that it felt like he had failed as a professional photographer. He said he would take a wedding photoshoot over Parkour any day and he would never take photos of Parkour again. As funny as that was, I’m sure that isn’t true and it would just require more practise like anything else until you become accustomed to it. Mat’s mum, Jenny said in all the years she has known Austen she has never seen him as quiet, deflated and annoyed at himself as he was tonight. Usually he is quite bubbly and chatting, enjoying taking photos, but today he was dumbstruck. While the photographers set off for home, the rest of us trained a bit longer. Mat had the greatest ownage when his mum got him good by saying, he should really learn to do flips, ‘flipping eck Mat what are you playing at!’ Which had Adam in creases of laughter as well as the rest of us. Various photo from the camera club can be seen below.



Luke – Webster. © Roxanne.


Front Tuck – © Chris Davis


Mat – Portrait.


Zade - Portrait.

Zade – Portrait. © Chris Davis





Mat – Portrait.


Austen shooting Mat.


Lache. © Chris Davis


Zade – Sideflip. © Chris Davis


Mat – Portrait.



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