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Sport as ART by: Neil Shearer Photography


Sport as Art is a project from sports and active lifestyle photographer, Neil Shearer. It is an exquisite collection of black and white images showing sports men and women from two different perspectives. 

The first is an intimate portrait of the athlete with the aim of capturing the emotion of their chosen sport, whether that be fear, determination, joy or something else entirely.

The second captures them frozen in motion ... the moment, highlighting the unique skill and strength required to perform their sport. These images aim to give the impression of motion, leaving the viewer to admire the extraordinary ability of these athletes. 

I was lucky enough to be involved with this project when I met Neil through a similar interests network. We planned at time to meet up at my performance venue to capture the moving images.  With the help of my performance director and also by kind permission of Stageworks Worldwide Productions, we were able to get these 4 stunning shotsl, I've included them throughout this post.

All four images were captured as I glided, or leaped through some of my sport's various artistic elements. I was fortunate enough to wear one of the costumes for a number titled 'DIVA' from the 2015 Hot Ice Show in Blackpool England. You can see the amazing work of Stageworks by visitng their website: 

 Stageworks makes custom costumes for various productions worldwide. They are most recently celebrated for being involved with a spread in UK Vogue Magazine. In the pictorial, Kate Moss wore elaborate showgirl costumes provided by the wardrobe department at Stageworks.

As A participant in this project I was asked to answer several questions about my sport. My answers and the questions are included below. Yay for Artistic Sports!

 The Questions

1) How long have you trained?

Competitively, I trained for 10-years, and as an artist, I've skated another 10-years. All told, I have put more than 20-years into balancing over a pair of blades, but I split the two decades up the middle and each phase had me pushing towards different aims.

2) How did you get into it?

My older sister skated, I was the tomboy under the bleachers collecting hockey pucks, but eventually I wanted to try my luck on the ice.

3) What is the best thing about your sport?

It’s an artistic sport, this is the best part about it. It’s not black and white or cut and dry. Every workout is a combination of balance versus abandon and style versus technique. I get an emotional, physical and mental workout every time I skate.

4) What is your proudest sporting moment?

That changes all the time. When I represented the U.S. figure skating team as an international competitor, I was pretty proud. But I’m proud of the person my sport has molded me to be. I am proud of the students I teach and I am proud of my art form. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to answer that question consistently.

5) Who inspires you and why?

I have always struggled with favorites. A lot of people inspire me, Michelle Kwan because she was graceful on and off the ice and also because she achieved an obvious and dependable consistency in  the performance of the sport. But also the bravery of Katia Gordeeava; the authenticity of Toller Cranston and John Curry and the lines and grace of Robin Cousins have inspired me.

6) What are your sporting goals?

My goals are to inspire others, to give back to the community that raised me, to be authentic and to educate myself along the way.

7) Do you compete?

I don’t compete any longer. Figure skating is different than many other sports because its amateur athletes are considered “Olympic eligible” whereas its professional athletes are not, I turned pro in 2005, and I can now be financially compensated. I think it’s a neat concept because the athletes are not allowed to be motivated by money. That part comes in the next chapter. I’ve always enjoyed the verve of a young athlete doing it for the love of the game and found a dullness in seeing the pro athlete on the million dollar contract getting the job done but on fat pockets and less than original enthusiasm.   

8) If so, do you have sponsorships?

When I was competing, the US figure skating team was sponsored commercially by VISA, DKNY, Reebok, State Farm Insurance and Smuckers. We were given training gear and money solely for training costs as well as our travel expenses to events being covered. I personally did not have an independent sponsor.

9)  What sporting brands are most associated with your sport, if any?

Whichever sponsor is most associated with the team gets their emblem on the uniforms and will get advertising from figure skating events and the media coverage. But the sponsors change.  USFS (United States Figure Skating) is a not for profit organization which fund raises to support its programs  and athletes.  

10) Who are the biggest names in your sport?

In England, where this project is based, I would have to say the biggest names are Jayne Torvil, Christoper Dean, and Robin Cousins all former Olympic Champions and all involved with ITVs Dancing on ice.

11) How does someone new to the sport get involved?

I am less educated here as the “Learn To Skate” Program is how kids in the U.S. can get involved. But I’m sure it’s relatively similar in the UK. Basically, one can sign up for group classes to learn skills and to eventually pass relevant tests. Upon completing each level the skater can enter higher levels. Down the road, private lessons and coaching is available. Many children who train and compete in figure skating develop Olympic dreams. 

12) And finally, what are your three top training tips? 

1. Practice makes improvement and it’s the single most important things to achieving success

2. Smart practice is more valuable than lazy practice

3. Learn your body and listen to it. Many athletes get injured by over training. Most career ending injuries could have been prevented, seek professional help to learn proper and safe technique and take care of your body it is the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

For more information on photographer, Neil Shearer's project, you can keep up to date with its development here:

          And also via SOCIAL MEDIA: 



Cheers! xx


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