The ABCs like you've never seen them before
It’s the ABCs like you’ve never seen them before.
Some of Canada’s top gymnasts have used their flexibility and strength to create a human alphabet as part of a fundraiser for the Canadian team as it prepares for the 2012 London Olympics.
The project was the brainchild of Jennifer Blakely, who founded Alphabet Photography. She travels around the world collecting photographs of architecture and every day objects that look like letters of the alphabet. In her library, Peggy’s Cove is an ‘I’; the arches of the east block of the Parliament building are an ‘M’; and the bottom part of Eiffel tower is an ‘A.’
This was her first time working with people.
“The athletes are just incredible in the way that they can bend their bodies and the different positions they can hold, it made the process much easier because of their flexibility and strength,” said Blakeley. “But it was pretty challenging trying to imagine different ways for them to create the alphabet.”
Blakeley spent a month before the photo shoot looking at gymnastics and yoga poses and brainstorming the various positions. She drew stick figures to show the gymnasts what she wanted.
“They were willing to try just about anything I threw at them,” she said. (Check here if you don't believe her.)
Kyle Shewfelt, this country’s only Olympic gymnastics champion ever, provided the sayings for an “Human Alphabet Inspirational Series” of four photos selling for $45.00 each. He’s impressed with the final product.
“Gymnastics is such a good fit for this because every time I look at a letter I think ‘Oh, that’d be impossible,’” he said. “But then I realize ‘No, no, no, a gymnast could do that, they could figure out a way to get their body into that shape.’”
Peng Peng Lee of Toronto, who was 19th in the world championships all-around final last week in Tokyo, said she “loved every second” of making the alphabet with teammates Dominique Pegg, Casey Sandy, Maria Kitkarska and Cory Paterson.
She reckons that capital ‘G’ was the toughest letter to make.
“One of the rhythmic gymnasts did that and she bent her back and I think her knee was up and her feet were flat,” said Lee.” It was interesting, but looked like a G in the end.”
Prospective buyers will be pleased to know that no gymnasts were harmed in the photographing of the series – not a single pulled muscle.
“To say they’re athletic is an understatement,” said Blakeley. “They’re superhuman.”