In 2012 I undertook a little personal project ahead of the London Olympic Games. Over a period of a few months I made numerous trips to the Hawks Gymnastics Club in Bristol to photograph their young gymnasts. I remember being in total awe of the impressive feats of agility and balance on show from the youngsters at the club who were all aged between 10-13 years old. It made for some of my favourite portraits.
One of the many incredible gymnasts I met and photographed was Claudia Fragapane. Claudia must have been about 13 in the portrait above and I'm sure she'll appreciate me bringing this image to the front of the blog. Claudia has just made history by becoming the first Englishwoman for 84 years to win four gold medals at a single Commonwealth Games. She took Gold in the vault, the all-around gold, team gold and the floor event.
Coincidentally I also took on my first ever work experience student a few weeks ago. Zoe (pictured above) was also one of the young gymnasts at the Hawks club and had written me a brilliant email explaining how my photographs of her and her fellow gymnasts had helped ignite her interest in photography. Zoe, now a keen young photographer (and gymnastics coach) shadowed me for a week to get an experience of a working professional photographer's life. To bring us full circle - Zoe's mother Helen is Claudia's gymnastics coach.