Words and photos by Andy Bronson
Every season ends with an Athlete of the Year photo series. For nearly two years I’ve looked at the red tall-backed chairs in the Mount Baker Theatre and thought those would be a great prop to anchor a theme for the photos. With help from Teri Grimes at Bellingham High, Mike Waters from Melody Hall and a friend’s dog, who gave up her sleeping table which the chair sits upon, I found the necessary props and articles to build a throne-like dais.
Kim Laskey at Mount Baker Theatre was able to give me a room and the chair to create the photo shoot for Kings and Queens of Sports. But it all had to happen on one day. So, after calls and confirmations, I had every athlete, seven in all, coming in during a five hour window of time. I was able to set up, with the help of David Rezgocki and Matt McDonald, about half an hour before our first athlete. I was able to space the athletes out about a half hour to an hour apart so, it left me with a lot of quick work to be done, with lighting and costume choices to be made. Some props got reused, as were capes. The crown was too big for everyone. With pads from my camera bag and gaffers tape, we were able to get it to rest on the athletes’ heads.
For hand props, I had two swords and a scepter that were made into two different styles and lengths using two rods and a Christmas ornament. But, when it came to photographing Squalicum swimmer Tori Frazen, I had used up the scepters and needed a prop. So, I found an old Mini Morris flash, taped four layers of orange gels over the head, and “Voila!” a ball of light.
Squalicum’s Tori Franzen is our All-Whatcom County Girls’ Swimming Squalicum’s Patrick Gibson is our All-Whatcom County Boys’ Cross Country Athlete of the Year.
Sehome’s Rachel Albert is our All-Whatcom County Girls’ Soccer Athlete of the Year.
My favorite shoot was Sehome’s Rachel Albert because we used a goal net that had just arrived two days before, and turned it into a robe. We found walking on it meant we kept messing it up as it got caught in our shoes. So that shoot took a little more time than I planned. But, I like the effect.
Squalicum’s Patrick Gibson is our All-Whatcom County Boys’ Cross Country Athlete of the Year.
Lynden’s Josh Kraght is our All-Whatcom County Football Athlete of the Year.
You’ll notice that Squalicum’s Patrick Gibson and Lynden’s Josh Kraght posed similarly. I liked the pose so much that I had them each take a different attitude. Kraght being the more serious look and Gibson a little more sarcastic, hanging the crown from his foot. The athletes took it all in stride, with one knowing that he’ll take a bit of ribbing from classmates and another awed by the look we were able to create. A huge thanks to all those who helped, Kim, Teri, Mike, Dave, Matt and the staff at Mount Baker Theatre.