From Buddha to Barbells

Five weeks ago the Crossfit Open launched for another year. In the past, this has been a fantastic opportunity for me to photography athletes pushing themselves and achieving new personal goals. I was looking forward to this year’s showdown, though before it could start, I would need to do some work in Japan.

After a week of meetings in Tokyo, I took a bullet train to Nara, Japan to experience the life outside the city. Nara is known as the city of deer, and the deer play different roles in the Buddhist stories. They are protected and have found a life where tourist come and feed them crackers as a pilgrimage to T┼Źdai-ji temple to visit the Great Buddha Hall.

My last day started early as I desired to watch the deer come down from the hills. In the frost, in the early light, the locals were starting to join me. A gentleman at a bench next to me began to chant, and the deer started coming down from the hills. With the chanting and morning light breaking through the trees, it created a beautiful spiritual space.

A few days later I would be in the warmth of home, jet-lagged and with family. That Friday I would be mentally preparing for a different type of photography. A Friday Night Lights of athletes pushing themselves to the breakpoint. As a Crossfit athlete, I have great respect for everyone that is apart of the Crossfit Open, we all do it for different reasons, though often it is to gauge our growth over the year.

Four weeks of Friday Night Lights brought various challenges to the athletes and the photographer. Barbells and bodies were flying to get in as many reps as possible. Which often ended with the competitors on the floor to regain their breathing and heart rate.

The human body is impressive. Each competitor brings something different, though their vision to see one push themselfs, putting their complete self into ten minutes is a sight to behold. There were many first in this open for people, overcoming their mind, with the energy and sweat, created a space of balance and personal work.

I am sad that this last five week has gone by so quickly, though my life will not slow down anytime soon as we look forward to another set of first, in the weeks to come.