A Photo Essay On Rowing, And Nothing Else
warning: being a French publication, the content of the issues has no limits and does not recognize any taboos. “The only thing that matters are the aesthetics whether it is in the beauty or in the ugliness.”The rowing photo essay borrows from the German rowing retailer New Wave’s clothing line ‘Rowing Nothing Else.’ The images share a vivid sense of the feeling of the dedication and gritty reality of rowing. Any rower looking at the images will instantly relate to the feeling of camaraderie and closeness that rowers feel, in an almost remote and unknown connection from the perspective of an outsider.
If you’re looking for lots of skin, massive muscle, and revealing shots of junk, you won’t find it here. Rather, the essay gives a peek behind the curtains of the reality of rowers, their body language, and their often scruffed appearance and their focus on rowing while not preening and posing for the camera.
The title of the essay is perfectly chosen and the images depicted are just that. The images were shot over the course of one day on Sunday, 15 May 2011 at the Régates de Masse (Masses Regatta) in Mantes-la-Jolie (approx. 34 miles or 55 km west of Paris), at the Stade nautique international Didier-Simond de Mantes en Yvelines.
The rowers featured in the photo shoot vary in age: some are juniors, some are university, and some are senior rowers from a number of teams and clearly more than one country! French photographers have the luxury of being free of the American legal system and can more freely capture their subjects without fear of liability or retribution. They don’t have to get signed waivers …
Rowing Nothing Else appears in the 4th online issue of Character, issue 2, Fall 2011, Volume 2. To find the photo essay, you need to jump to page 60 (look for the 4th bar at the bottom of the flash player). If you prefer, you can page through from the beginning but you'll have to thumb through the essay of drawings on Bambi and The Bears ... (again, read the warning above).
For those who are not fluent in french, the text of page 63 reads: (and if our translation is lacking, then please help us refine it for other viewers!!!)
You chose a beautiful sport ... that predates your lifetime! It not only develops many athletic abilities but it also is a life lesson.
The fact of being in a boat, with 1, 3 or 7 other rowers to form a single team, with one goal, that of winning a competition, forces you to excel not only for yourself but also for your teammates. In celebrating your victory, it is because of your team that you were able to push yourself to win.
Know that it's a constant effort to produce such a difficult technique, so precise and so wonderful once mastered. Keep in mind that it is the water that surrounds you and it is the point of all your efforts. It is fragile, so do not attack it with brutality or sheer force. Rather, take it in and embrace it with eagerness, precision, flexibility, and a covered blade. With the water as your point of support, your legs can relax, your body can recover, your torso straight and with your arms extended but not stiff, they will speed up your blade in the water, bending your arms without running out your elbows or making your shoulders lift.
As you begin to stroke, your efforts magnify, helping to make your strokes grow further, faster, and the drive becomes harder and harder. Your blade comes out of the water sharply, effortlessly, and with no splash of water, just clean. With your legs remaining stretched, your hands come back quickly, smoothly passing above your knees. During this time, your body has recovered, the head straight, and bends forward without stiffness at the waist, ready to the begin the next stroke.
Bend your legs, letting your knees rise higher and higher. We say “dig with your heels!” Above all, without stopping or resting, remain flexible, calm, relaxed, and you are ready to once again surprise the water. Think about breathing in and breathing out, even with exaggeration, because it is essential.
To bring all of this to perfection, you will have to row kilometers, many kilometers ... in a location that I hope for you, is beautiful!
Never stop making holes in the water since the pleasure of rowing will always remain even as you get older .. . you will only go just a little slower! And your friends will be lifelong. What is good for you will be good for them!
For those reading page 61, and who are unfamiliar with the Tour de Leman, it is a 160 km rowing endurance race that circles Lac Leman, otherwise known as Lake Geneva. The annual race is held at the end of September and can last up to 17 hours, depending on the weather. The best time recorded is 11hours:55minutes:19seconds.