LANA ADAMS ON PERSPECTIVE
"We are currently seeing a shift in the sports industry where more photographs of women/trans/femme athletes are being shared. This is fantastic and well overdue but I believe to have a fellow W/T/F behind the lens and creating the content really helps shape the perspectives we present.
The typical way cyclists are photographed is to show them dominating, sweating, and using their physical strength and power, which is a very masculine- and testosterone-driven image to portray. Most media shoot men and women similarly, which doesn’t capture important aspects of existing within the sport as a woman/trans/femme individual. Photographing and sharing more women riding bikes is great, but if it’s portrayed in the same way that men have always been portrayed I don’t think it’s progressive enough. The other standard for portraying female athletes is to sexualize them, and that is very male-gaze driven. We’ve made positive progress in moving away from that dated portrayal by diversifying the perspectives shared.
In my personal work I’ve been focusing on capturing the relationship between a woman’s strength and her softness - to show that a woman’s strength doesn’t lie in the typical masculine renditions of strength and instead has a multifaceted way of expressing itself that is usually ignored, especially when it comes to sports. The physicality of sport is only one aspect of it, an athletes psychological and emotional strength is a whole other area to explore and it interests me more than an athlete's fitness.
The week before this shoot, I had ridden in the same area during golden hour and was transfixed by the warm light and magical way this place that usually feels harsh and rocky felt during that time. Tessa is one of the core women I race CX with, and has helped get me into mountain biking as well by being a really welcoming presence. She's an avid rider and racer, coming second in U23 CX nationals last year and just is a really positive, lovely person to be around.
I really wanted to capture Tessa naturally, like she would be any other time we went riding on dirt together, casual and having fun. She’s a very determined athlete, and also a bubbly, kind person, and that’s who I wanted to capture.
It might sound cliche but riding with W/T/F riders is constantly inspiring and sparks a deep motivation that is hard to replicate. It feels really worthwhile being able to share that energy through photography. There’s a special force that exists between female athletes that I feel like we all can relate to but often have difficulty describing!"